TONLE SAP, SIEM REAP CAMBODIA: INTERESTING PLACE MINUS THE SCAMS

Isn’t this beautiful and charming???

Sunset in Tonle Sap
Sunset in Tonle Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap

Yes. It is pretty… but, I would like to state that the pictures became that beautiful because of my lovely DSLR and of course, some editing… :D

The sunset I saw here is nothing compared to sunsets that I saw in my country. :D The Manila Bay sunset is better and its free!

Although, I must admit that I was amazed on how people can live in a floating village like this:

Well, it is interesting to see these, but I will tell you in another post that the cons outweighs the pros
Well, it is interesting to see these

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Aside from the houses, you can see a floating market, floating basketball court, floating tourist center (which houses the crocodiles (well it is in a cage, so you don’t need to be worry) and some kids posing with their pet snakes, — “yeah I said it right, pet snakes”) and kids using a wash basin to stay afloat. The tourist center is also where you will wait to see the “spectacular” sunset.

This is the floating complex, which can also be a basketball court.
This is the floating complex, which can also be a basketball court.
This is the "tourist center" where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
This is the “tourist center” where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
And of course the floating market.
And of course the floating market.

Well, every thing is going smoothly and we were having fun. But, the moment we went down to that quaint little floating market, every thing turned sour.

WHY?

Well, this is what it looks like inside that market:

ton le sap floating market
ton le sap floating market

It is where you will be told to buy stuff which will serve as a donation for the children living in the village. Wait, I just remembered, while we were inside the boat, we were being oriented by the tour guide (allocated to us, when we rode the boat) that the children were getting sick because they don’t have anything to eat… that they don’t have anything to drink.. and they don’t have anything to use in school and that they are orphans..blah..blah.. Well, they are trying to appeal to our pity. But, coming from a third world country myself, something like that is not “something new”.  But, it is not something that I can ignore either.

When we were forced. Yeah forced to get down the floating market. We were shoved to meet another “community” guide. Well, again, he was orienting us on how poor the villagers are, and that they need donation. So, we can choose anything from the things sold in the floating market to give to the children.

The things there are:

1. A pack of pencils, ballpens and notebooks.

2. A pack of Instant Noodles, some snacks and juices

3. a box of Bottled Water

4. Sack of Rice

Since the appeal to pity worked on us, we decided to donate. But because we were only students that time (and we don’t have that much money to afford the other things sold) we decided to donate at least the pack of pencils and notebooks.

Well, we are about to pay for it, when the “community guide” told us. “not that, the children needs food more than school supplies”. Well, my friends and I just looked at each other and well then, we decided to donate the pack of instant noodles with the snacks and all instead of the cheaper pens and notebooks. Then we are prepared to pay for it, when the community guide interrupted us again and said that “It is not nutritious, what we need is real food”. I asked how much the per kilogram of rice was, but he shrugged me off and said, “we sell it by sacks”. I forgot how much everything costs, but what I know for sure is that every thing was overpriced!

We ended up not buying anything why??

Although what he said is true or actually makes sense–that the priority is nutritious food, but, what the he**!!! we are the donors and we have the right to choose what to give, and why be so choosy?? Moreover, this trip is purely leisure, and we didn’t expect that we will face such thickheaded person, who only wants to suck the money out of tourists. Well, to tell you, not every tourist is made equal, there are rich tourists and there are budget tourists. My colleagues and I are in the latter. so scr*w it! :D  Well, it is good to help, as long as it is within my ability. I also help a lot of people in need, but what I don’t understand is that they became so aggressive and so pushy in telling us what to give! damn, I hate them. they ruined my happy disposition during that trip.

But, our dilemma did not end when we get off the floating market. Our guide was literally Pissed-off at us when he realized that we did not buy anything. He didn’t say anything throughout the time when we went inside the tourist complex but he was really talkative when we were just heading towards the floating market. And when we were able to go inside the tourist complex, we realized that he went off by himself, without even telling us his goodbyes. What the F???

Thank goodness our boatman stayed. :p that’s why we gave him a tip (which is actually mandatory). 5USD for the boatman.

Well, enough of the rantings.

BTW. inside the tourist complex. Well, I just named it that way, because I forgot how it is called :p You will see these:

This is the "tourist center" where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
This is the “tourist center” where you will see the so called beautiful sunset
ton le sap girl with snake
ton le sap girl with snake

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Crocodiles kept on Ton Le Sap
Crocodiles kept on Ton Le Sap

And from there, we waited for the sunset.

Sunset in Ton Le Sap
Sunset in Ton Le Sap
On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village
On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village

Worth it? Well, I will let you decide

1.  The road going here is unpaved. or is rocky. So going here using a Tuktuk is really not recommended, unless if you want to have your face filled with dust.  Moreover, it is quite far from Siem Reap, around 30 minutes to 1 hour van ride.

2. Sunset is nice, but I won’t pay a lot just because of it. You will pay 25-30 USD for the boat ride, a separate entrance fee of 3-5USD per person (I’m not sure, but this is as far as I can remember, because we were issued tickets), then a van ride which costs us 20-30USD per van.

3. Scams and rip offs. Well, since we were caught off-guard, we were really disappointed and angry of what happened. But, since you’ll be coming there equipped with knowledge about the modus then you will be well prepared of what’s gonna happen to you. And you won’t have any great expectations unlike us who were super swayed by our siem reap tour guide. :D

4. Mandatory Tipping of 5 USD each for the driver and guide. But since the guide went off by himself, he wasn’t able to receive it.

5. If you wanna save money, you should travel in groups, since the boat is usally rented by groups.

6. A tour guide that leaves his work after being pissed off at you

OBJECTIVELY THOUGH: It is somehow extraordinary to see floating villages like this. So, minus the scams, and if I am ready to pay a huge amount of money, why shouldn’t I give it a try?

CAMBODIA ADVENTURE: MY SEVEN DAY ITINERARY AND TIPS

This is my seven day itinerary with tips in Cambodia:

3 days in Siem Reap and 3 days in Phnom penh

FIRST DAY- arrived Siem Reap at 10pm. Transfer to hostel. There are a lot of vans offering you transfer from the airport to your hotel. It costs 10 USD, well depending on the size of the vehicle, the airport staff will give you a coupon. However, you can opt to use the friendly tuktuks which will cost you around 5USD. By the way Tuktuks can seat up to 6 persons. Don’t be fooled if the tuktuks say that there’s a regulation that say that only 3 persons can seat per tuktuk. :D

By the way, unlike other countries, such as South Korea, Kuala Lumpur, or cities like HK, where airports are located far away from the city center, the airport in Siem Reap is just a 10 to 15 minutes ride. So, spending a lot in a van than a tuktuk, is not a wise choise, especially if you are just 2 persons traveling together. :D

airport.jpg

The taxi/van driver will most likely offer you a tour for the next few days. You will most likely say Yes because it is cheap. However, you can save more money if you’ll just hire a tuktuk and bring you to the Angkor Wat, especially if you are in a budget. But, the good side of saying yes, is that the package that the van/taxi will offer you includes a very knowledgeable tour guide. Which, we did, and we were happy with our choice. However, skip the other tours that he will offer you, such as the side trip to the floating village known as Tonle Sap. For your own sake, don’t go there. It is a waste of time and money. (I’ll tell you in another post) :)

Since we arrived late in Siem Reap, we went out to eat in a restaurant located in pub street. Well, as the name suggests,  is a party place! :) full of bars and people dancing on the streets.

pubstreet.jpg pubstreet.jpg

SECOND DAY- In the morning, while waiting for our tour driver to pick us up. My friends and I decided to rent a bike in our hostel and to look around the nearby area.  And we saw some mini temples akin to that in Thailand. Well, we learned of it by accident so I wasn’t able to know its name. Though, Siem Reap is so small that you can probably see it if you rent a bike. :D

Temples in Siem Reap city. Temples akin to that in the neighboring country-Thailand.
Temples in Siem Reap city. Temples akin to that in the neighboring country-Thailand.

We were also able to see the pub street during the morning and tried the infamous Pizza place.

aroundsiemreap2.jpg aroundsiemreap3.jpg aroundsiemreap5.jpg

In the afternoon, we went to Tonle Sap, as recommended by our driver/tour guide (skip this. not worth it! I’ll be writing about it in another post) Just go to Angkor Wat. You can opt to get the 2 day Angkor Wat visit, as there are a lot of Angkor temples other than Angkor Wat.

Well, it is interesting to see these, but I will tell you in another post that the cons outweighs the pros
Well, it is interesting to see these, but I will tell you in another post that the cons outweighs the pros

Tonle Sap is a place full of scams and rip offs. Though, I must admit, it has a colorful and amazing sunset view

On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village
On our way back to Siem Reap after visiting the water village

THIRD DAY- Angkor Temples

angkortemples.jpg

angkorwat.jpg

sunset.jpg

FOURTH DAY- Go to Phnom Penh (6 hour bus ride)

We opted to have a day trip, so we bought our tickets at the night market. Well, the ticket costs around 500 pesos. :D

FIFTH DAY: Phnom Penh,

Tuong Sleng Genocide Museum, and the Killing Fields– Well, I didn’t realize that I’m really into this kind of stuff. haha. :) Well, there’s an eerie feeling into it that makes it interesting. Moreover, I learned a lot of Cambodia’s history because of it.

I wasn’t able to get a lot of photos inside the Genocide Museum because the thought that a ghost will appear in one of the photos, scared the hell out of me :D  Well I’ll write a separate post for this :D

skulls.jpg

SIXTH DAY- Went to the Central Market and then went back to Siem Reap (traveled for 6 hours)

The central market is really a nice place to visit. I don’t know why? maybe of the cheap things that they sell there??

The Central Market in Phnom Penh
The Central Market in Phnom Penh

Don’t ever plan to go to Siem Reap or Phnom Penh using a van. Bus is better. My gosh, the road is really rocky. And riding a van make it worse. And if you are unlucky enough to sit at the back of the van, just get ready for a trip with no nap or sleep time. I’m not even sleeping but I always found myself at the floor every single time. Well, if you cannot picture it enough–think of the time you rode a horse. Yeah, it’s that harsh!

7TH DAY

Just walked around the pub area. :D

TRAVEL TIPS in Cambodia

1. Well, Cambodia uses US dollars as their currency but they don’t have the US coins, (currency below 1 USD)  instead they use their own money. And yes, it is confusing. Until now I can’t figure out how much is the equivalent of their money compared to USD.

2.  There are a lot of scams going on. Well, not necessarily scams, but they overcharge you in everything. Especially in Siem Reap. Be careful with the Tuktuks, always, ALWAYS, always, I MEAN ALWAYS, HAGGLE. and if you are a group of 4 or 5 or 6 and tells you that you should rent separate tuktuks because of a traffic regulation. No, don’t believe that. During my stay in Cambodia (phnom pehn or siem reap) I always see more that 4 even 8 passengers in a tuktuk. I wasn’t able to get a lot of photos though, but this is one I got:

Do not believe the tuktuk drivers. They just want to earn more income
Do not believe the tuktuk drivers. They just want to earn more income

3. Another thing, please bring your own medicine from your home country. Why? I got sick in Cambodia, and my Cambodian friend told me that I should not buy medicine there instead take the medicine I have from my country. She even went home to get the medicine she got from her husband (who is from a country in Europe) because she said that the medicine in Cambodia, instead of making you feel better, can make you feel worse. She said that they sell medicines even if they are already expired. Scary right?

4. If you plan to visit Phnom Penh from Siem Reap, you can buy bus tickets in the Night Market. There are a lot of travel agencies that sell tickets toward Phnom Penh, or even Bangkok. You can buy it there. But never, try riding a van. It is really a bumpy ride and a good looking van doesn’t make it better.

5. Don’t go to Tonle Sap.

6. Well, as for the sarongs or long skirts whatever. It is not really “mandatory” in the whole angkor complex. It is just necessary in hiking up the main temples in Angkor Wat. But, I suggest that you still wear the proper attire, so that if you opt to hike the temples, then you can do so without a problem. You can buy long pants or sarongs in the “NIght Market” for around 2-3 USD each.

So, here’s my outfit while in Angkor Wat. Yeah, I look so dirty already, and that’s around 4 pm already, and we started touring at around 7am. That’s why I look so “dugyot”. I bought my pants in Siem Reap’s market since I wasn’t able to pack well :D

yeah, I don't look good. haha.
yeah, I don’t look good. haha.

 

WINNER FOR THE ANNIVERSARY BORACAY PROMO

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Oh Well, no one joined, no one sent me a message, so no winner, all the people who liked my fb page are my friends. So sad. :(

Well, I’m still thinking of continuing the promo period until March. So, if you’re game  with it, just say yes in the comment section below, and I will decide in just a week, if I get good response, then I will consider, giving it away again.

Hey Wanderers, I’m giving it for real, don’t miss that chance! :)

Here’s the procedure:

BeFunky_bora.jpg

BEIJING PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE AND BEIJING 3 DAY TOUR ITINERARY

Last year, my friends and I decided to book our flight towards Beijing not only to see the sights but to experience winter and snow for the first time. My friend’s parents decided to join us, so my plan on “backpacking” Beijing—meaning no tour guides, with only the 4 of us wandering around with a map in our hand- went down the drain. :)

Nevertheless, I loved the idea that we will have a tour guide, a van and a very knowledgeable tour. :) Knowing that I won’t stress about where to go, or to speak in Mandarin just to get to our destination.

I chose Rain. Rain was very accommodating,  very knowledgeable about the history of Beijing, as well as very trustworthy. We paid her after the tour, and she even offered us a discount. :)  Moreover, her rate is cheaper compared to other tourguides, upon searching for the cheapest PRIVATE TOUR in Beijing. I found Rain in synotrip.

Rain is a certified tour guide, as seen in her website. She is very smart, and very kind. She is patient enough for us while we take pictures in the very cold winter day/night. Our driver is none other than her husband, who is really “handsome” haha, and very accommodating.  However, unlike Rain, her husband, rarely talks to us since he only knows basic English. Rain on the other hand, is very knowledgeable in English. Rain is good in conversational english. She doesn’t eat her words unlike other Chinese tour guides, so you don’t need to worry in asking again and again “pardon” “please repeat that” what’s that? “sorry”  since you don’t need to. You can easily understand her. :)

 Her rate is: 

600RMB or Chinese Yuan per day (for 9 hours) with van and tour guide.

300RMB one way airport transfers

400RMB tour guide and van within the city

If you exceeded the 9 hours per day tour, these are the charges: 60RMB per hour

Here’s my 3 DAY ITINERARY WITH RAIN 

December 21 : Airport Pick Up Service (12:05 am)

6:30/7:00am Pick up from hotel, go to Juyongguan Pass (2hours), then Badaling Great wall(4 hours) Then we are going to tour the following: Olympic Green andWangfujing St., Houhai Area, Qianmen Street. Payment is 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime charge.

Our first day is so tiring, but we really wanna see all the highlights in Beijing. So, please understand. and mind you, it is doable. :) not that tiring especially since it was cold and you won’t sweat.

the great wall in the juyongguan pass
the great wall in the juyongguan pass
Sorry, no other pics than this. Me in the birds nest during my 2nd visit in Beijing
Sorry, no other pics than this. Me in the birds nest during my 2nd visit in Beijing
food to eat in wangfujing, define exotic.
food to eat in wangfujing, define exotic.

December 22,: Tian’an Men Square, Forbidden City (please take note that we want to tour every inch of Forbidden City, like going to the museums etc.), Jingshan Park, Behai Park and Ghost Street (if time permits) 400RMB fixed rate with additional 50RMB/hour for overtime (just tour guide with no transportation anymore, since they are near each other)

at the tian an men monument. my friend and I
at the tian an men monument. my friend and I
one of the buildings in forbidden city
one of the buildings in forbidden city
the view of the forbidden city in jingshan park
the view of the forbidden city in jingshan park

December 23: Summer Palace (3 hours), Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, Silk Market . 600RMB with 60RMB/hour overtime payment then transfer going to the airport (300RMB)

summer palace
summer palace, my friends and I

RAIN’S CONTACT DETAILS:

EMAIL: 13775847555@139.com

WEBSITE: http://www.synotrip.com/kungfu-panda

Rain and the group, I was the one taking the photo, so I'm not there
Rain and the group, I was the one taking the photo, so I’m not there
Me, Rain, and my friends in Behai Park in Beijing
Me, Rain, and my friends in Behai Park in Beijing

MISIBIS BAY: YOUR LUXURY ISLAND PLAYGROUND REVIEW.

How do I define luxury? Simple, it’s Misibis Bay.

misibis bay

Misibis Bay Infinity Pool
Misibis Bay Infinity Pool
facade of main building
facade of main building

The staff, architecture, facilities (even the shampoo, conditioner, bath soap) define luxury at its best. The shampoo, conditioner and bath soap are made of high end brands. The buildings stand tall, showing its grandeur design. The staff are well trained. Trained enough to make everyone smile.

Let me tell you that this is not a sponsored post, I’ll tell you my honest opinion about Misibis Bay. No sugar coating. My real review. My real opinion.

Misibis Bay

I went here last September 2012, only for a day tour which costs more or less P3500.00 per person. We were told to meet up in Hotel Venezia at 6am which is located inside one of the luxury subdivisions in Legazpi City, called Renaissance Garden.

We rode a van in order to get there, the van contains separate seats and  a spacious leg room. The staff will hand you a bottled water just in case you get thirsty. and the way towards the resort is not that rocky, so, it is not tiring at all. Just hate the part, when we waited for the other guests to arrive, or to get ready, the other guests that we are sharing the van with are late, knowing that they’re staying in Venezia itself– which is managed by the same company that holds Misibis Bay. The hotel should have told them to hurry up or else they’ll be left behind without refund, instead, the hotel staff did not do anything but let us wait– which I think is too wrong and too long.

The travel time is about 1.5 hours, and during the whole trip, I was wide awake, because of my curiosity as well as my excitement. I just can’t contain it.

main building misibis bay
main building misibis bay

When I saw the gate, I felt my heart thump more than the usual. When the gate opened, smiles and greetings are in the air, although I can’t hear it myself since I’m still inside the van. I just saw them smiling so kindly to us. Giving us a warm welcome. And just few seconds after, I can hear a loud sound, and there it is,  the Ibalong dance. 2 youngsters are dancing to greet us with their lovely costume and dance moves, after which we were brought to the main lobby.

Ibalong dance in Misibis Bay
Ibalong dance in Misibis Bay

The staff is courteous, always smiling and the best part is, they make you feel like a King or queen even just for a day. Upon arrival in Misibis Bay, My brother and I were greeted by the Ibalong dance (Ibalong is a tale/legend about Albay). Provided us with our own complimentary juice, and waited by their staff who answered our every whim– but, we didn’t overstep our boundaries though, we just asked information regarding the resort. All throughout that day I spent in Misibis made me think that I can feel rich even for just a time.

Complimentary juice
Complimentary juice
reception desk
reception desk

About the facilities, It has everything that you ask for a resort, except for the horse riding part (though I’m not sure, if they don’t have this). :) They have hotel rooms which costs about P20,000 per night. Which is expensive for the Filipino middle class. But, hey, what they are selling here is the exclusivity, or may I say the luxury, and their target are those people who love it.  So, if you want to feel a little luxury yourself, and you can afford it, then why not spend it here.

The facilities include the gym, which is quite small in size, about 40sqm, but has 2  treadmill, and the usual things that you see in a gym. Pardon my brother, I asked him to pose for me. :)

Misibis Bay gym

We didnt bring gym clothes. I just asked my brother to pose for me. It's not real. haha
We didnt bring gym clothes. I just asked my brother to pose for me. It’s not real. haha

In Misibis, there are 3 pools. The best pools are the ones near the villas and of course the infinity pool, since the other one is for the youngsters. Isn’t the view awesome?

Misibis Bay Infinity Pool
Misibis Bay Infinity Pool

Misibis Bay

AS FOR THE BEACH… Well, all I can say is that it is so-so. Why? The sand is not as white as they claim. For me, it is brown. The sand is inconsistent, some powdery while some sandy. And the beach itself is not amazing, it is only a small stretch of beach. The water is not the boracay blue—light blue–instead it is dark blue with a hint of a green. And while swimming, you’ll realize that you are stepping in rocks, which have this green moss or algae, or whatever, so I guess, the hint of green color was from those. And mind you, it is a bit slippery, so be careful. If I’m the person who wants to go here just because of the beach, then you’ll be disappointed, just like me, who thought that it has a long stretch of white sand as the pictures and the promo materials depict, but the truth is it is not the same.  I’d rather go to Caramoan or beaches in Sorsogon if my main point is to go the beach. .If you are planning on a vacation where you can walk or jog in the sand, then this is not the resort you should be looking at. Stay in Boracay or other resorts instead. .

The beach is the downside, but hey, there are only few people who will share the beach with you, so it is not that bad, especially if you are looking for privacy or exclusivity, which Boracay’s white beach can’t offer you.

Misibis Bay

Misibis Bay

AS FOR THE FOOD. Well, it’s buffet and it’s included in our day tour package. The buffet table has variety, few but enough.I love the dessert table too. I ate halo-halo from there. Although I would say that the taste is just so-so. It is good but not that good to say WOW! And if you buy an ala carte food here, the lowest price you could get is P300.00, expensive yes. But, you are in the right place to spend, and you went there to spend anyway, so why not?

Ambiance of the restaurant. So beautiful.
Ambiance of the restaurant. So beautiful.

Misibis Bay buffet food

Misibis Bay buffet food

Misibis Bay buffet table. only a few variety of food.
Misibis Bay buffet table. only a few variety of food.

Misibis Bay buffet food

Misibis Bay dessert table
Misibis Bay dessert table

Misibis Bay buffet food

Halo-halo corner
Halo-halo corner

AS FOR THE STAFF. Part of what I love in Misibis are the smiling, ready to help staff that serves your every whim. Ask them and they will answer. All I can say is Filipino hospitality at its finest. I have no qualms about the staff, and also… they make sure you are safe in every way, they always remind you to wear your life jackets, and life guards are just within your sight. It is amazing to see how they make sure that you are having a great time.

WHAT MADE ME ENJOY MISIBIS ARE THE RESORT ACTIVITIES. Sports or other activities are free for day tour guests. I tried ziplining, hobie cat sailing, snorkeling and touring cagraray island, and of course swimming…swimming..swimming.

Zipline. (which is crazy, because it was my first time, and is part of my bucket list). The area you’ll be hanging into, is a cliff. Yes, a cliff. And it is about 400m long. By which IF… JUST IF.. IF the cable holding your dear life snaps, then just close your eyes, say your prayer and wish that you’ll be getting into heaven. I loove the zipline here. It’s adrenaline pumping, heart thumping and of course an experience of a life time. My first zipline is in here, and it is a 400m and below is a cliff, not those sissy types of zipline like that in the mall of asia, that is only 6-7 m high from the ground- I call that sissy zipline. I’m glad that my first time was as scary as this! hah!

The zipline here though has a stop in the middle, so it is not a straight 400m. But, the stop is in the middle of a cliff, so in any way, to get back to the main road, you need to ride it again, this time, in a not-so-scary part… and mind you, I was scared during my first “flight” but I don’t have a choice but to get to the other side by doing it again.

I told you it's a cliff!
I told you it’s a cliff! and by the way, it’s just the other half.
I'm coming!!!!!
I’m coming!!!!!

Snorkeling. That was my first time that I touched the expensive yet yummy sea cucumber that East Asians love to eat. And the fishes that surround you is really amazing, A lot of different fishes. Schools of fishes (yes, fishes, since there are different schools of them). This is fun and I was really happy that I tried it. All the snorkeling gears are free, the bread that you’ll feed to the fish and you’ll have your snorkeling guide too.

Having a non-water proof camera sucks. so that's the only pic I got.
Having a non-water proof camera sucks. so that’s the only pic I got.

Hobie Cat Sailing. I just love sailing with this light-material looking boat. ha! I don’t know how to describe it, just look at the pictures below: Well, I love riding it because it was my first time and that I love how we move because of the wind. We are sailing fast and went so far beyond the boundary because the wind is powerful, which adds to the excitement. Those who are scared to try this, don’t worry you are required to wear a life vest.

The hobie cat. focus on the hobie cat.
The hobie cat. focus on the hobie cat.

Kayaking. It was hard. I just kept on circling and circling, and a bit scared, so I stopped. Although it is just for a while it was fun!

Stand Up paddle surfing. I’m telling you, this is impossible! haha! I tried this one and knew about it because of the Amazing Race and I tried to imitate it. Although it looks easy but it is not. Really, it is not. haha. This is where you will need to stand in a surfing board and paddle yourself to move while you’re in the water. It’s fun but seriously hard.

Then the tour. The tour took us to see what’s in the Cagraray Island. We were touring using a golf cart, we went to the theater, the beautiful church/chapel, the part of the resort for the middle class, where the hanging bridge is located, and 2 pools can be seen.  zipline site and the snorkeling site. :)

In the golf cart to see the whole Cagraray Island.
In the golf cart to see the whole Cagraray Island.
Misibis Bay Hanging Bridge
Misibis Bay Hanging Bridge
The theater
The theater
the view
the view
Misibis Bay Church
Misibis Bay Church
Inside the Church. The altar. It is overlooking the sea.
Inside the Church. The altar. It is overlooking the sea.

Relaxing. My brother and I waited until it is not that hot anymore to swim or try the activities. So, the first thing we did was to go to the building where the facilities like table tennis/ billiards *(if I remember it right), and the soccer game table, lots of sofas, tables, magazines, televisions and internet-ready computers. We stayed there and played everything until we got bored, ate lunch and started the activities that I mentioned above.

Misibis Bay Entertainment Hall
Misibis Bay Entertainment Hall
Misibis Bay Entertainment Hall
Misibis Bay Entertainment Hall
The pingpong table
The pingpong table

Swimming. We went to every pool that we can see. But we didn’t even try to dip ourselves in the kiddie pool. haha. But my first instinct was to go to the beach, and we swim there, although just for a few minutes. I noticed that there is bar in the beach, so you can order your drinks, alcoholic or not in that bar. There’s also a bar in the infinity pool itself, you can buy your ice cold shakes or alcoholic drinks while swimming in the infinity pool and savoring the blue sea amid the blue sky.

Misibis Bay Pool
Misibis Bay Pool. My favorite pool among them all.

In short, I enjoyed Misibis. It is hard to tell otherwise, especially because of the list of activities they offer, especially the zip line. But most of all, what I loved here is the exclusivity of the resort. You will think that you’re the only guests in the place. I experienced having the beach and pool by myself, and not only that, I felt that I’m being served by the staff as if I’m a queen. Although they can improve in terms of the food, but I don’t know how they’ll improve the beach. hah! :)

If you’ll ask me whether the money is worth it? YES, for the experience. But I can say that once is enough.

My judgment: MISIBIS IS NOT ONLY A PLACE: IT’S AN EXPERIENCE IN ITSELF.

For more information: Visit http://www.misibisbay.com/resort.html

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR WINTER ESCAPADE?

Last December 2012, my friends and I went to Beijing, China, and as you know, December is part of the winter months in Beijing. The temperature may drop up to -15 degrees celsius so, before going there, I made sure that I was ready to face the cold winter weather in Beijing!

Beijing China winter back drop near Bird's nest
Beijing China winter back drop near Bird’s nest

Snow in Jingshan Park

Well, I’m in love with the cold weather, so I was really excited to enjoy this climate-change (no, not that climate change that you are thinking! :))  but what I didn’t know about is the craziness, yes the craziness of preparing for a winter escapade! The craziness started when I knew that the cold freaking weather can go down at -20 degrees celsius, crazy right?? A person living in the tropics might just die (o, ika nga sa filipino, mangisay nalang ako! haha) Therefore, as early as 2 months before my flight, I started shopping for my winter outfits…. it is crazy ‘coz unlike my other trips, I just wear whatever I already have, but this, this needs preparation.  if we are not prepared going to that “war” ! Knowing that our climate is +32 degrees celsius more, and the lowest that we can get is 18 degrees. If we weren’t ready we will never be able to go out and look around the areas that we are supposed to see, so before going out your tropical-usually hot climate country, you should be prepared. Anyway, nuff said. So here are my little tips, for your crazy climate temperature-change, ermm… snow-laden vacation:

1. Research on how low the temperature can get. If the temperature goes down to a negative, then you need to follow my advice, if it’s not, but you are the type of person who cannot withstand a 20 degrees airconditioned room, then you can also follow my advice (especially those going to HK, since last year December 2012, when I went there, the temp dropped to 5 degrees celsius, which it is not supposed to do because HK temp is usually above 10 degrees!! and yeah, I was really glad that I have my Beijing clothing with me that time! :))

2. If you can fathom buying second hand clothing for your winter escapade, then why not? that’s what I did. I bought clothes from the ukay-ukay or thrift shops in Harrison Plaza, just behind the national book store. For only P150,00 to P350.00 you can get a down jacket or a coat. This is the best way to save money for your trip, why? because a down jacket or a coat may cost you more than your airticket going to your destination (I’m talking about my kind, who patiently waits for seat sales of various airlines and get the usual P15,000 worth or airticket for only P2000-P5000). heh! :)  But, if you have the money, why not splurge? My philosophy why I bought second hand clothing is that I will only use it once. Just make sure that you soak it up with the best cleaners that you have! But, if you are the yucky-it’s second hand type, then try the Surplus stalls located in the Mall of Asia (the biggest surplus store, they sell coats and down jackets too, quite expensive than the usual second hands but it is all worth it too). However, I bought my other two coats in the Surplus Store inside a mall in Divisoria, that mall nearest to Lucky China Town, and along Reyna Regente Street, it is before you arrive the much well-known 168 mall. I’ll put the name here when I remember its name. Well, in the top floor of that mall, there is this surplus shop which sells various branded clothing for only a dime. I bought there an Anne Klein coat for only P100.00. hah! such a great deal? ayt?! Well, these are surpluses, so they are not “ukays” or second hands, they are overruns or surpluses, but always check for damages! :)

3. The type of textile/cloth used in your clothing may make or break your vacation, so please.. please…. please… (3 cute pleases, with a wink! :)) you should remember this clothing that will never ever ever ever make you warm during this vacation, don’t make any of these are your jacket, but you can use them as an outer pants. :)

  • Cotton
  • Maong or those in your jeans
  • leather – don’t use leather jackets there, except if you wanna die or  if you have a bike! hah! :) peace, to the leather lovers!

Because these textiles or tela does not retain moisture, they absorb them! your clothes need to retain moisture because that very same moisture will warm you up. Nah, I don’t get the idea, but from my thorough research, that was what I found.

Best textiles/cloth that can help you:

  • wool
  • polyester
  • and alike..

So, just check while you buy your clothes, it can be found in the tags of the clothes.

  1. Things to buy for your winter escapade!
  • Outer Jacket – must be made of wool, or goose feathers (you know, the one which will make you look like a Michelin man, but if you have this you will definitely survive the battle :)
  • Inner Jacket – you should have 3-4 layers of clothing, so here is the other one, it can be a cardigan made of wool, polyester and all. But not those mentioned above that should not be worn.
  • Your woolen or stitched/ gantsillo kind of sweater.Or any shirts not made from those mentioned above (cotton etc.)
  • Underwear- no, not that usual underwear we use in the tropics, but you can still wear them. No, you should still wear them. So what I’m saying here is that, after wearing your usual panties-bra or briefs, you should wear this “winter-ready underwears” which is called long-johns, or what we call warmers with heat-tech technology. It looks like leggings and tights, but aside from the same appearance, the latter does not have the same capability of making you stay warm. What you buy here is the heat-tech technology. I bought one pair mine in UNIQLO which is P795.00  and one pair from Marks and Spencers which costs P1395.00 per piece. For a pair in M&S I bought it for P2500.00 and it will depend on the type or quality of the warmers you’ll gonna buy. But, you can go to 168 mall, 2nd floor, and there is a stall there selling underwear, ask them to give you warmers or long johns. And you can buy a pair for P450.00. Well, the difference between those sold in UNIQLO and 168 mall is the thickness. the one sold in 168 is thicker which means it will be bulkier to look at once you worn all the outfits, on the other hand those sold in Marks and Spencers or UNIQLO are super thin, it feels as if it’s your second skin. By the way, this is very important, don’t forget to buy this!
  • Socks - Please buy a pair of heat-tech socks, not those ordinary ones as most of them are made in cotton, which is not a good textile to use because when it gets wet, it absorbs it, and stays cold for the rest of the time. Remember, you are going to a snowy filled place, and snow is water, and when it gets to you, it will feel wet and cold. This happened to one of my friends who used cotton  or ordinary socks, she said, her feet felt numb.
  • Scarf - Buy one in any stores that you will find, Buy those stitched/gantsillo/knitted ones, or those pashmina kind of scarves not those bought for the beach, the ones which are transparent or look like it would not shield you from anything.
  • Gloves - Don’t buy leather gloves unless you want to sacrifice your hands by making them feel numb all the time. leather does not, never, makes you feel warm, and actually it will make you feel cold. Knitted or mittens are recommended.
  • Hat - Though you can buy it in your destination, it is still good if you already have this with you. It is one of the most important, as heat escapes almost 90 percent from our head. Hence, to keep you warm, you should make sure that you have a head gear
  • Earmuffs- Oh, I tell you, this is not for show! They have their own use, which is to make your head and ear nice and warm. I’ll tell you, you wanna protect your ears, they are also prone to frost bite. you don’t wan’t to home, earless, aren’t you? hahaha. But you can buy this in the place of your destination, as it is cheaper there than buying here.
  • Boots/ Shoes- don’t use leather, unless your shoes are those trekking-in-southpole-mount-everest- kind of leather shoes, then why not? Boots sold here in our country is nothing but for the purpose of design, not functionality, so it would not help you at all. I saw one in Aldo, it’s an uggs type, so it would be helpful. You can also try buying in Forever 21, or if not, visit the thrift shop I metioned above, since they also sell these goodies. However, I didn’t buy it because I’m afraid of athletes’ foot. :) So, I got mine in F21. Make sure that it looks warm and cozy. Rubber Shoes ladies and gentlemen, is not, never will be a winter shoes. the cold slips through the rubber, which will make you say “I’m cold” all the time. Trust me, my friend told me that she had made a mistake! hahaha. But, I tell you, you can buy shoes in the place of your destination. It’s actually better to buy there as it is cheaper, so you can use your rubber shoes for a time, then just buy there, make sure, you will be shopping during your first day, but if not, better buy here or in your home country
  • Petroleum Jelly - Instead of the usual lip balm, use this. Your lips will be extremely dry that an ordinary lip balm (may it be burt’s bees or nivea) cannot withstand. Petroleum Jelly is the best to prevent wind burns and dryness. Believe me, in our group, they insisted in using their balms and later on they said that it doesn’t work, and they asked to share in my petroleum jelly
  • Skin lotion and face moisturizers- due to the dry temperature, you need this to prevent wind burn.

One of the down side of traveling in winter, is how bulky your luggage can get, or that you will have the same jacket for the rest of the trip. Worry not, my fellow travelers who loves winter clothing. You can minimize your luggage by buying those vacuum bags that make your clothes thinner when you put it in your luggage. Trust me, they will be flat, but there’s no need to iron it again!

I bought 5 vacuum bags from Japan Home Store for P88 or P66 pesos each. and then…. it does it magic.

Winter clothes in a vacuum bag
Winter clothes in a vacuum bag

This is how we looked! BTW, i practiced wearing my clothes before my flight to Beijing, just to see how it looks, but nah! when you’re there already, sish to fashion!! This is true, I didn’t care about how I look because I care more about how I’ll survive the cold! :)

bw5.jpg

winter clothing
winter clothing

So, that’s all! Hope this helps!