I'm another amateur Photographer at the block. I'm an IT professional by day and an aspiring writer 24 hours. This blog is my chronicle on my thoughts, reviews and adventures where I also practice my photography. My favorite are portraits so it will be quite evident here. Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to message me if you want your portraits taken by me. I'm just around Manila.
I started bullet journaling this year to lessen my bad habit of killing time through social media. Now this hobby and as well as writing my thoughts have been my refuge from this stay-at-home lifestyle. Join me as I flipthrough my February 2020 bullet journal entries.
Part 1: The Cover Page. To set the mood and theme of this month.
Part 2: My Habit Tracker. This looks like a beanstalk actually. I only decided to track 5 habits here. But they are hard to acquire habits. I draw leaves on the corresponding branch if I executed that particular habit.
Part 3:My Blog Plan Tracker. This is where I write my blog topic ideas. I don’t have problems with ideas. It’s the execution that is hard as always haha.
Part 4: Weekly Spreads!
FIRST WEEK. For the first week of February, I suddenly had this idea of combining a mood tracker and my daily thoughts in a comic strip format. Each leaves will have an expression depending on my overall disposition that day. With the comic balloon, it will narrate my thoughts. I also keep tracked of my estimate spending for each day.
For a closer look when the spread is not yet filled-up. So last Feb 3, I was hopeful that NCOV will be over soon because I heard that HIV treatment worked well in a patient. I was also hopeful that time that our March-April trip to South Korea will push through. But writing it now during a lockdown, it made me sad because obviously, it did not end so soon as I hoped it would be. And our South Korean trip was also cancelled. ***Sigh***
SECOND WEEK. I continued this concept on the second week. But the it’s the potty-plants with faces this time. I also continued to track the estimate spending for each day. The goals for this week is still in the same corner.
THIRD WEEK: I didn’t have time to do the same style so I just pasted stickers here and there then write whatever. It did not adhere much with Potty Plant theme. But I made sure the color will still be mostly brown. These stickers are vintage outfit stickers.
FOURTH WEEK: By this time, I already received my Paperang 2.0 that is why there are now images of each day of the week here in the fourth week. The images are captured and printed directly from mobile phone. I will blog my experience with Paperang soon.
Part 5: My Sunday Spreads. I decided to write a full-page Sunday journal each week. Also I set this as my evaluation day the things I achieved that week and my points to improve for the following week.
Part 6: Payday Tracker. I started this last month. This aim to track how I divide my payday earnings.
Part 8: Filler spreads. These are my first prints in Paperang 2.0.
Just random full page calligraphy when I feel it,
Part 9: Monthly Evaluation. The part where I review my goals and if they are achieved at the end of the month. I also reflect on my habits ,pain points and improvements that I should carry over the next month.
That ends my February set-up! Introducing my March 2020 Cover Page as the ending. My theme next month is “Throwback Memories”.
Before I end this post, I also invite you to follow my youtube channel. I will post more bujo stuff soon.
Or maybe you’re interested to be my International Blogger Friend. The idea is to invite everyone in blogosphere and have at least one friend in each country so that means at least 195 blogger friends. It’s not limited to wordpress blogger, or to blogsite platforms. If you are a Instagram blogger, facebook , youtuber, tiktoker! You are welcome! For more details, you can check out my About Page here.
Thank you in advance!
Remember, you are awesome and wonderfully made,
For inquiries and collaborations, LET’s CONNECT!!!!!!
Foreword: I’m publishing this blog in the midst of NCOV-19 crisis. I know it’s a bit untimely because I , even myself, cancelled my travel this summer and I advised everyone to do the same. But this blog has been on my backlog for a long time. And I’m publishing this with hope that few months after, this pandemic will be over and our medical experts would discover the cure to combat this virus. Few months after, we will be able to travel again without fear and this blog would finally serve it’s purpose. Let’s pray and be healthy wherever you are.
It’s been months after we went to Taiwan and I remember that on that time, I had a hard time researching for the best ways to exchange Philippine pesos to Taiwan NTD. There are youtube vlogger discussing one way another and I did find few blogsite but most of them were old. I don’t know, maybe I didn’t search enough. But just in case, you are having a hard time too, I decided to write my own experience and discoveries on the ways to exchange Philippine Peso to Taiwan NTD and compare it to one another. The process might apply to other currencies as well but this experience is particular for Taiwanese Dollars.
How to Measure if the Exchange Rate is Good?
To buy Taiwan Dollars, the lower the selling exchange rate the better. So we will compare these ways base on their selling exchange rate. Searching through google as of this writing, 1 NTD would be equal to 1.69 Philippine Peso. Let’s see which of the following ways would offer the best exchange rate.
TWD vs. NTD: Taiwan Currency
First of all, when it’s your first time to travel in Taiwan, you may be confused of the two currency being used which are TWD and NTD. They are actually the same in terms of Tawain Currency. It’s just TWD is being used more in more serious note like foreign exchange rates. NTD is more of international English name of Taiwanese currency. But their value is the same.
Option 1: Thru BDO Bank:
This option is one of the best because of low exchange rate. But this is only applicable if you still have at least a month left before your departure time. As of this writing the selling exchange rate for BDO is 1.71. If you want to check the current buy exchange rate, go to this BDO forex link: https://www.bdo.com.ph/mobile/forex
So if you exchange PHP 5000 to Taiwan Dollars in BDO, that would be 2,923.97 TWD. (Computation: 5000 divided by 1.71)
Here are the important notes on how to exchange by BDO.
1. Currencies other than USD are available in selected BDO branches only. Please click here to view list of selected branches.
2. You can only exchange money on the BDO branch where you have a bank account. So if your branch is not on this list here , it’s out of the options.
3. When you are ready to exchange your money at the BDO branch, you need to bring your passport and itinerary. It’s important to know that Taiwan dollars is most probably not readily available at your branch. So the estimate for your Taiwan dollars to arrive will usually take 2 to 3 weeks after you visited your branch.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We only learned about this method within the week of our departure. I visited the BDO in Picadilly BGC branch and was informed that there were a lot of requirements. I don’t have a BDO account in this branch and we couldn’t wait for 2 to 3 weeks anymore. So we were not able to use this method. So I conclude, this is a good way to exchange PHP to TWD but it is inconvenient and would require a lot of time.
Option 2: Thru a Money Changer
The second option would be the nearest money changer in your area. But this require a little research since money changer sites have different exchange rates. In our experience, I exchanged money in Kabayan BGC Branch. They update their Facebook page on the current exchange rates and respond quickly in our inquiries. At that time, we chose this because it somewhat lesser in other options that we had.
TIP: Message them in Facebook first to ensure when they have Taiwanese Dollar in the nearest branch . Unlike the first option, it only takes one day. This is the private message that I had with Kabayan. At that time, 1.85 is the selling rate. We exchanged 15,000 for me and my friends.
So for example, if you have PHP 5000 , this will be equal to 2,702.70 Taiwanese dollars. (Computation 5000 divided by 1.85)
Option 3: Exchange money in Taoyuan Airport
You can also bring your Philippine peso in Taiwan and exchange it on the money changer in Taoyuan Airport itself. There are two banks which has money changer kiosk in Taoyuan which operate for 24 hours. You can ask anywhere and they would consistently say this option has the least competitive rate. However, it offers convenience and security as it is readily available in the airport.
Personal Experience: My friend decided to exchange his P3000.00 in Bank of Taiwan Money Changer kiosk. At that time of our travel, the selling rate was 1.9354. So he got 1,550.00 Taiwan Dollars. You can also view this on my vlog at 00:11.
So for further comparison, PHP 5000 would be equal to 2,583.4 Taiwan Dollars.
Take note that this site displays Taiwan to other currency rates so you should look for PHP buy exchange rate and multiply it to your Philippine Peso.
Option 4: Withdraw in Taiwan ATM
You can also bring your local debit mastercard or credit card in Taiwan and withdraw in Taiwan ATM. Since the pocket money I brought was not enough, I had the chance to use this option as well. The exchange rate depends of the bank. You should also take note that aside from the exchange rate, each bank has it’s fee which will be deducted on top of your withdrawal.
Some important notes:
1. Your card should bear a mastercard or visa card.
Personal experience: I used my BPI card to withdraw P1500.00 NTD. It’s not hard to withdraw in Taiwan as ATM have available English translation. When I checked my statement, it charged me a total of P2687.00. Subtracting a total of 180.00 from international withdrawal fee, then that would be P2507.
Computing the exchange rate I had with using BPI ATM card, that would be
And if we are going to exchange our PHP5000, it will be 2,994 NTD.
To summarize the exchange rate of four options:
At Taoyuan Airport:1.9354
International ATM Witdrawal: 1.67— the best
With these four options, I would say International ATM withdrawal is the best. But you should not rely entirely with ATM withdrawal. I believe it would be best to have cash on-hand as well before flying to any different countries. So for me the best is to exchange a lesser portion of you pocket money from Bank then for the larger portion withdraw it in Taiwan. In case something went wrong online, you won’t be empty-handed.
That’s all folks! I think we can all agree that the start of 2020 is a bit stressful. Let’s pray together that in the second quarter , the world will trample the pandemic crisis. I’m positive all of this will be over.
Before I end this blog I would also like to invite you to be my International Blogger Friend. The idea is to invite everyone in blogosphere and have at least one friend in each country so that means at least 195 blogger friends. It’s not limited to wordpress blogger, or to blogsite platforms. If you are a Instagram blogger, facebook or youtuber, you are welcome! For more details, you can check out my About Page here.
Thank you in advance!
Remember, you are awesome and wonderfully made,
For inquiries and collaborations, LET’s CONNECT!!!!!!
One of my friends in Instagram has been posting her pages in her journal. And for the longest time last year, I only see only one hashtag which is #bujo. I dismissed it before. Uninterested to know what it means. But I do love reading the pages she shares in her Instagram every week. She put doodles in it and her handwriting is clear and divine. So just after the new year, I decided to finally explore the contents in hashtag bujo.
Exploring that hashtag opened a whole and exciting world for me. Bujo is short for Bullet Journaling. At first I thought that the reason it was called Bullet Journaling was it mostly utilizes “Bullet listing”. Most bujo that I’ve seen uses these technique in writing daily happenings in this form rather than spontaneous long paragraphs. So I thought it came from that concept.
But digging more in the interwebs, I learned that Bullet Journal was coined and invented by Ryder Carroll. And it is actually a method to improve productivity and achieving goals. I was surprised that there are actually definite terms to know and sections in applying Bujo system. I will not discuss those since I did not apply most of them yet. But if you are interested to study the whole Bujo system. I think this site tackles it in simplest way. I will apply this on March.
For most people, Bujo is a customized planner and diary. I just love the way it also serves as creative expression. Unlike planners you can buy anywhere, bujo gives you freedom. It can be as minimal as you want or as colorful as you want it to be, or both.
Here’s how I start my January Bujo:
First, I went to Greenbelt and Glorietta to buy the essentials.
I. BUYING BUJO SUPPLIES
Hunting the notebook: Most notebook popular for bullet journalist is the dotted notebook. It has pages with small and equally spaced dots which helps in making straight lines and spacing when writing. And it’s not noticeable unlike the usual lined notebooks. My choice,however, was blank pages. I also wanted the cover to have vintage feel but gives me freedom to design it. So when I saw this notebook in MUJI, I knew I found what I am looking for.
Here is my notebook. I put a minimalistic design on it.
Well you have to know that this is not the actual color of the pages. I was using ambient light from the window when I took this photo. It was a cloudy day. The coffee designs here was stickers I bought from “The Craft Central”, Greenbelt Branch in Makati.
Verdict for this notebook: I am already using this notebook for more than a month and I would say I kind of regret choosing this. Don’t get me wrong it’s an amazing notebook. Not just for bullet journaling. I advised to stick with the popular choice: the dotted kind of notebook. I should have chosen Limelight brand. Or bought a dotted noteboook in Craft Central. But thankfully, Craft Central has this dotted paper pad. When I am tired and have no energy for straight lines, I paste a dotted paper into the notebook page. It also adds thickness to my pages. And yes, I have to tell that small dots in dotted pages will make your life easier in bullet journaling. So stick with that! In addition, choose a notebook with thick pages.
2. HUNTING FOR THE PEN and PENCIL. Another important thing I bought was the ballpen and pencil I would use. I also bought them at MUJI. I have no high standard with pencils so I bought what was available. It was the pen that I am quite picky about since the gel pen I have smears a lot and makes my writings messy. Thankfully, Muji has amazing retractable gel pen. I have put this pen in to smear tests before I bought it and I love the results. I have seen it featured in a lot bullet journalists IG’s too. Here’s how it looks like. It’s called “Smooth Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen Knock Type 0.5 Black”
This is how it looks like. It is called Smooth Gel Ink Ballpoint Knock Type 0.5
3. RULER: I bought two rulers. One is the ordinary transparent ruler. The other one was a wooden ruler that shaped like a giraffe. I bought the latter simply because it was cute. But I have to say I mostly use the transparent one the most.
4. CALLIGRAPHY PENS, WASHI TAPES, STICKERS, GLUE STICK. These are just optional. Before I went shopping for my supplies, I already knew the color scheme I want. I am leaning more these days to vintage feel of brown color. And for the first month I chose a coffee and pastry as a theme. So I bought stickers and washi tapes that aligns to my theme. I also bought a brown calligraphy pen.
Zig Fudebiyori Calligraphy Pen: National Bookstore, Glorietta Branch
Glue stick:National Bookstore, Glorietta Branch
Pens and Pencil: Muji, Greenbelt Branch
If you are not familiar, Greenbelt and Glorietta are two adjacent malls in Makati City, Philippines. Actually there are four neighbor malls in this area. Landmark, Greenbelt, Glorietta and SM Makati. They are even interconnected to each other by bridges so it was not hard to go from one to another. Landmark has amazing dotted notebooks and planners too. Not popular brands but they have adorable cute designs. It just so happens I want a clean slate, no design notebook. So if this area is accessible to you, I recommend for you to shop here but only in weekends. You’ll probably be traumatized to go here in weekdays. The traffic in Makati is terrible.
II. Bujo Set-up.
I get inspiration and format mostly from the bullet journalist I followed in Instagram. From super minimalist to colorful bujo. Mine was kind of in a middle. I am not good in drawing so I compensate it with cute stickers. I also pick the parts of bujo mostly from instagram. I was mesmerized by the different section that make-up their bujo so I pick those that I’ll find useful for me.
Section I: Just some general cover page stating my name and my theme.
Section II: Meaning of the Theme of the Year
Section III and IV: Washi Tape Swatches and cover page of my lists. In this section I am planning to include my bucket list, movie list and other list related to my plans.
I am not yet done working on my list so I’ll skip those pages in this section for the meantime.
Section V: TRACKERS
One of my favorites. Trackers are like touchpoint monitoring of the goals you want to achieved. Here I created a tracker for my Workout Progress, word count for my novel and social media tracker. All are related to the goals I wanted to achieve this year.
A close up on my Weekly Exercise Result tracker.
Section 6: Monthly Cover. Keeping it simple with the calendar and my goals for this month. Other monthly covers include future logs which could be birthdays, anticipated events and other scheduled activities.
Section 7: Habit Tracker. This month I wish to develop the following ten habits. Every habit has a badge and the goal is to at least earn at least 5 each day. This is one of the section that I feel very useful.
Section 8: Weekly Diary Spread. This is my most favorite because first of all, this is the reason why started bujo. I used to have a diary before but I am not chatty in paper these days. I am not as comfortable to blank pages unlike before. I just want to write down the highlights or things to be grateful for everyday. So a weekly spread diary is perfect for me. There is no pressure to write long paragraphs when I don’t usually have the mood to do so.
For the first week, my weekly spread has priority of the week checklist, productivity tracker and mood tracker.
Second Week: This time I tried a horizontal lay-out. I am not fond of making straight lines so I let myself not to do it.
I added phone usage tracker. I was able to know my exact hours of usage by a free application I downloaded in Google Playstore. It’s name is YouHour. It’s an amazing app. I added this because I recognize my social media addiction specially Facebook. You could scroll for hours, endlessly and I felt like it really rots your brain.
Third Week: This time, it was still a horizontal layout. I went crazy with calligraphy but I like it. I love the stickers.
Fourth Week. This time I added a daily tiny calligraphy doodles. I still have a productivity tracker, mood tracker, and the list of my weekly goals. This time I tried the vertical layout.
You are capable of so much more!
Push! Push! Push!
Section 9: Payday Tracker!
I decided to do this so I could consciously divide my payday and track where it goes. I followed Truly Rich Club principles in dividing the salary. 50%. Monthly expenses and bills. 20% Savings and investments. This will go to savings account. Or buying stocks and other investments. 10% Tithe/ charity. Support your church or donate in a charity. 5% Emergency Fund. They say you must have at least 6 month-worth of salary to have a reliable emergency fund. This will serve as your fund just in case there are emergencies like work termination, accidents or calamities. 5% Enjoyment Fund. Fund for watching movies, eating-out with friends and family. 5% Educational Fund. Continue to grow by enrolling to a course that will help you improve or attain new skills. 5% Empower fund/ Luxury fund. This is the fund to buy gadgets or any luxuries.
I think this tracker would be a regular from now on. I really need it because I tend to forget my budget for particular area. By the way I haven’t seen this tracker to other bullet journalists so far. But I’m pretty sure others have their own versions of it.
Section 10: Month-End Evaluation. Wrapping this month with my accomplishments and areas to improve.
That’s it for my January Set-up. I am inviting you to watch a 1-minute flip-through of my coffee-themed January bujo. Please also subscribe as I will create more bujo related contents soon!
My Bujo is not actually the best out there but I hope this will inspire you to have your own bujo and make it as your tool to achieve your goals this year.
Before I end this blog I would also like to invite you to be my International Blogger Friend. The idea is to invite everyone in blogosphere and have at least one friend in each country so that means at least 195 blogger friends. It’s not limited to wordpress blogger, or to blogsite platforms. If you are a instagram blogger, facebook or youtuber, you are welcome! For more details, you can check out my About Page here.
I hope you accept my invitation and help me build my list 😉
Thank you in advance,
Remember, you are awesome and wonderfully made,
❤ ❤ ❤
For inquiries and collaborations, LET’s CONNECT!!!!!!
I hope you are doing well! This year I would like to use internet and my blog to really connect into the world. I would love to travel to achieve that and as much as I wanted to, I have limited resources. But Internet is here so I had this idea to create International Blogger Friend Directory. The idea is to invite everyone in blogosphere and have at least one friend in each country so that means at least 195 blogger friends.
I want to diversify the blogs I follow. I am so curious to hear and learn more base on more personal perspective and not just on news/ wikis. I believe blogs reflects much of the writer’s soul and through this I am hoping to have meaningful interactions with people around the globe.
If you’re accepting my invitation, we could do at least one of the following:
Simply follow each other’s blog links and blog platforms.
Give me your three current favorite blog posts (own writing) and I would put my thoughts in the comment. Similarly, I would also send you my own fave blogs post in my blog and your would put your thoughts as well.
Do a blog collaboration (Suggestions below)
be my guest blogger
Exchange favorite book, tv series, movie , netflix and we’ll have an exchange of reviews.
Or we can read book or watch film we both never seen before and let’s have a review about it.
These are just my suggestions. We can talk and agree on topics 😉
Send each other letters or postcards or stickers! (I would love to add this in my bullet journal)
Bond over music! Let’s sing a song as duet in Smule or WeSing.
Duet over Tiktok! Yes I have tiktok account (gurezu). It’s fun. It’s my guilty pleasure. Let’s duet!
Or others we can think of. We could even meet up and bond over coffee,books , movies etc if its possible.
I have actually forget this idea in a while but the invitation and list has been sitting around in my “About Me” page. Empty. Until one day, I received an email from Libera Tarts (https://liberatarts.com/) accepting my invitation. She is a British Filipino ESL teacher currently based in China. It took me awhile to think on what country I will list her. But decided to stick with the location where she is at the moment. At last the list is not empty anymore! By the way, we also agreed to have blog collaboration too. So excited that this is now rolling. Thanks Libera for accepting my invitation and listing me also in your list!
My list of countries as well as the International Blogger Friends Directory is on my About Me Page. The countries in the list are 195 starting from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. If you think I missed your county, let me know.
If you are already in the Philippines, I am also building another list which is ” BLOGGER FRIENDS PER PH REGION” . I know most of circle here are in wordpress are in the Philippines. If I have more time, I’ll do inventory of my blogger friends so it won’t be empty anymore. ;D
But of course, you can build your own International Blogger Friends Directory too! Let’s help each other build our list! Who knows, at the end of this year we could have at least 195 blogger friends. The thought excites me.
I hope you take my invitation. Just let me know in the comments. Also if you are more active in Instagram or other blogging platforms, just let me know. This list would include bloggers in all platforms.
Have a good day! And remember that you are awesome. Don’t let others make you think otherwise!
It made history! “Parasite” won the Oscar Best Picture Award! It is the very first non-English film to win in the academy. And having personally enjoyed the film immensely, I felt proud and joyous as well that I brought my lazy ass to sit and write a blog about it.
“It’s so metaphorical!”
These are the points that I feel made Parasite appealing to Global audience, even successfully seeping through the audience who who does not like “reading subtitles”. This is purely my opinions. I am no serious film critic. And I won’t be comparing this film on it’s competitors in this year’s Oscars because I haven’t watch all of them yet. My sole credential was I love watching films too and I do recognize a good story.
Most of all, this is a spoiler-free review. I would discuss only the part of the film that you will also see in the official trailer itself. So you don’t have to worry.
Universal theme but unique story. You don’t need to have an experience living in a particular country or living in a different time to immerse yourself in the premise of the movie. It is a story of two families in contrasting financial condition, the rich and poor. Simple as that. This simplicity, however, was enamored with such a unique storyline.
2. No clean-cut good or bad characters. It is easy to tell that the protagonist of this movie was the poor family. The movie deals with their journey the most. Even if the rich family seems to be the antagonist, they are not villainy in characters. Actually they are nice people. They could be entitled people but that’s because of their lack of exposure from how poor people lives. But they are certainly not entirely depicted as bad. However, I could not tell the same with our protagonist poor family. From the trailer it self, you will see they began to take advantage of the rich family by lying. But then you will understand where they come from. They just want to have a good life. I love this kind of dynamic in characters. In most movies, it’s easy to root for a particular party when there was a clean cut bad or good. And in real life, it was not like that. People can be both bad and good and it depends on our perspective in life on whose side would we root for. I love these kind of movies.
3. Genre-bending movie. As people have said, this movie is a hella ride of emotions. It made me laugh, sad,excited and scared. They say films that try to mix two or more genres together will likely feel scattered. Well this movie did it with flying colors. It made me confused along the way but in a very good and exciting manner.
4. Technically flawless. The classical music inspired soundtrack. The cinematography. The acting. Everyone in this movie was great. No scene was wasted. I have watched a behind the scene of this movie and I am really amazed that even the architecture of the houses of both families were made from scratch to fulfill the director’s vision of inserting a deeper meaning on the contrast of each lives. Moreover, the director wanted to illustrate the class division by using staircases and windows. So the architecture of the house and how it responds to sun movements was design with intention. The director even have a comic-book like sketches of each frame. I just love this particular detail of the behind the scenes . The director put so much heart and art on it.
For the actors, I can’t seem to pick a favorite character actor/actress here because in one way or another they have a spotlight in this movie. Even those with little screen time were essential.
To sum my points, the movie is both super entertaining and deep. The balance of these two characteristics made it a modern masterpiece.
It’s a milestone for South Korean film industry but also in the award giving body that recognized it. It just means they are ready to embrace wider ideas and concepts. I always felt Oscar were just for Hollywood movies before. It is only now I felt they are ready to go “international” as it should be. It is a win for Asian countries too. Maybe a film in my country Philippines would also break barriers someday. I am positive with that. We have talents here but seemingly lacks courage.
How about you? Did you also enjoy this movie? Who do you think is/are the parasites in this movie?
For our Day 3 and last day in Taiwan, we spent in Taichung City located in central part of Taiwan. It was a 2-hour bus journey from Taipei. For this tour, we availed “Taichung Classic Day Tour in KLOOK”. It was worth around P2,000 per person. This blog contains my thoughts in each destination and the tour itself. IS THIS KLOOK TOUR WORTH IT?
Also inviting you the tour in action here in my 6-minute VLOG.
Zhong She Flower Market
Piece of advice. If you plan to go to Zhong She flower farm in Taiwan, you better do it by DIY. A klook tour will just give an ample time to be here. And you’ll end up running everywhere. Unless you just want to gaze on flowers, 50 minutes will not be enough.
LUNCH TIME in CMP Park Lane
For our lunch, they took us in a mall with a park in front it. It was disappointing because that mall has little food choice. The park has no food stalls at all. We bought lunch in nearby 7-11 instead. Then bought Milk Tea somewhere far. By the time we already have food and drinks, we only have ten minutes to eat. Though it hurt our tongue because our food was fresh from the oven, we had to endure it. We were hungry and we needed to go back in the meet-up or else the Klook bus will leave us. We really didn’t like the experience. We felt deprived in our first destination, then felt rushed and stressed during lunch time. It affected our mood for the tour.
MIYAHARA ICE CREAM PARLOUR
The most popular ice cream parlor in Taichung, Taiwan. This building was an old bank turned into Harry Potter inspired Ice-cream parlor and restaurant. Although you can’t visit the second floor unless you have reservation.
We didn’t order Miyahara Ice Cream. We felt full from lunch and disappointed with the Klook tour dropping us off in a crowded mall with very few food choices for our lunch. We ended up ordering food in 7-11 (which was delicious btw) and ate our lunch in a hurry because most of our lunch time was spent looking where to eat. So in Miyahara, it kind of affected the mood. But I enjoyed visiting Miyahara because the interior was gorgeous and whimsical. And that means more photo ops. 😛
Appreciating this little village drawn and made colorful by one old man who wish to stay in this place when everybody left. And now, people keep going here because of his creation. I hope he doesn’t feel alone anymore.
Easily the highlight of my Rainbow Village tour is to meet the Rainbow Grandpa himself. Aged over 90 years old, he wakes up every 4am to continue painting the village. He is maybe old but he’s still strong and playful. Game for trendy poses like this and Korean heart. It’s free to take a photo with Grandpa but it is advisable to drop donations. He is also selling his sample artworks in bondpapers. Because of his creativity, he saved the village from being demolished. Every year it is estimated that Rainbow Village has at least a million visitors. Even at old age, Rainbow Grandpa saved the small village and even made his neighbor earn more by selling to tourists. Truthfully, it’s not too late to make a difference.
For our last destination, we went to Gaomei Wetlands to watch the gorgeous sunset in panoramic view.
Sunset Viewing is the most popular activity in Gaomei Wetlands. But apart from that, this place is a preservation area for exotic birds and crabs. Here they roam free. I was not able to spot any exotic birds maybe because I did not finish the 800 meter walkway. However, the crabs were really plenty. I had fun taking a video of this particular one boring holes in a muddy sand. The wetland is muddy do I didn’t dare walk on it. Thankfully this one roams freely near the walkway. But I still did a risky position to extend my camera on the muddy sand to get a close-up.
I was not able to get through the end of 800m walkway in Gaomei Wetlands because it’s too crowded. But the main concern actually was the time. If I manage to get through, I might not able to go back in time for the Klook meetup time.
After the Tour
HOT SPRING EXPERIENCE in SPRING CITY RESORT
To cap the three tiring days of walking around Taiwan, we spent a relaxing hour in an authentic hot spring resort in Xin Beitou under starry night. Submerging in a hot spring water is not only relaxing but it is known for healing properties and getting rid of toxicities. Beitou is surrounded by hot springs so there is a strings of hot spring resort in the area ranging from simple to five star hotels. There was even a hot spring museum around the area. But we arrived so late to have to time to visit it. Thermal Valley or also known as Hell’s valley where the water constantly release smoke is also in Beitou. Unfortunately, and one of my regrets was I haven’t been able to see it. But enough of regrets. At least I have more reasons to go back to Taiwan next time.
This is the hot spring pool for kids. There are other varieties inside but phones are prohibited. It was quite challenging to submerge in to hot spring pools..because they are HOT! I wonder sometimes if they were really safe. I was so afraid to be cooked alive. Anyway the hottest pool that I managed to endure was 41 degrees Celcius. It was hard at first but once you were there for five seconds you can feel your body adapting on it and it was quite relaxing as promised. But I made unnecessary and annoying noises before I finally get into the waters. I really had a difficult time at first. Most of the visitors were from other different countries. But a Filipino couple spotted and chit chat with us when they heard we were talking in Tagalog. We met them again in Taoyuan airport when we were about to go home.
Overall it was really fun as this spring resort was so cozy and their amenities looks good. They also have free shuttle service. We booked this through Klook for only P579.00. We chose the “NIGHT” only pass. Other package has different price.
FOOD TRIP IN SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
After hot spring resort, we were very hungry and decided that it would be the best time to return to Shilin Night Market. So for our last activity in Taiwan, we went food tripping in this market where several authentic and exotic street food line up for the night. These are some of the memorable food I consumed. Most fave would be the eight claw octopus. Yum!
Gurezu Reviews Final Verdict
Super little time in Zhong-She Flower Farm
The tour guide assign that day was not that good in English. Aside from that , he does not wait for all the tourist to come down before walking to the destination. And he did not even look back to check if all the tourists were already in his tracks.
The lunch time drop-off which was CMP by Park Lane was crowded and has little food choices. We had a hard time looking for restaurant to have our lunch. When we finally bought lunch in a 7-11 (Thanks 7-11!) , we only got 5 minutes left to eat all of it. This definitely spoiled our mood.
There were raving reviews of this tour in KLOOK and checking all of it, they were mentioning the names of their amazing tour guide that time. Maybe we were just unlucky with the assigned tour guide that day. His name did not come up in the good reviews. I prefer not to mention his name. But I hope he’ll improve his skill in the future.
Recommended alternatives. 1. Look for a private charter specially if you’re in a group of 4 or more. You will have more savings and freedom for your time. 2. Do it DIY. You might want to try riding a bullet train going to Taichung as it will take you there for only 45 minutes versus the 2 hours in the bus. There were a lot of amazing Taichung destination that I wished we visited like the Sun Moon Lake and Famous Aboriginal Park. They look great in photos! 3. Or maybe book other Taichung Tours in Klook or KKDay.
If you’re interested, here are my other blogs for this Taiwan Series Adventures
I hope you enjoy reading my tour review blog and hope this helps in deciding your activities in visiting this wonderful country.
Also I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to be my international blogger friend. The idea is to have at at least one blogger friend in each country and build this INTERNATIONAL BLOGGER FRIENDS DIRECTORY. I wanted to diversify the people I follow or interact with through social media so I can see parts or hear anything from different parts of the world. We could do any of the following:
Simple follow each other in wordpress, blog links or other platform
6:30pm arrive at GaKuDen Bakery (near exit 4 of Ximen Station)
MEET-UP at GAKUDEN BAKERY
It was a good thing the meet-up was beside a bakery. People lined up to have a quick breakfast and I must say, I love sandwich we bought from Gakuden. I was also surprised that there were a lot of Klook bus tours here. It’s important to find your appropriate tour and tour guide. Tour guides has a list of names that will be under his supervision and will be calling out names from time to time.
On our way to our first destination, our tour guide told us important things that we should keep in mind. Like it’s against the law not to fasten your seatbelts while on the bus ride. She even showed a video clip that passengers were usually being thrown out of the bus as an impact of the collision and can get hit by another passing cars. If I remember correctly, penalty was 3000 NTD. Another, it was against the law for drivers to work more than 12 hours to avoid overfatigue which will result for another road accidents. So they made a point that they are strict with time and tourists shall comply. Or else, they will leave and the tourists will have to take a taxi ride to the next destination in the itinerary. While these are very strict, I appreciate the re-enactments videos they showed on why these are important. They are entertaining and informative. And as well, made me question why rules does not exist in the PH. Or is there? Maybe I am not aware.
Destination 1: Yehliu Geopark
I have a confession to make. Whenever I see pictures of Yehliu Geopark in instagram or other blogs I was thinking “What’s the big deal about this place?” The photos of the rocks reminded me of foot warts and it honestly irked me. I was ready to scratch this place off the list when I was still planning our Taiwan itinerary. But in the end, since its part of the Klook tour that I considered then I let it be. But our Klook tour guide was just awesome and presented to us videos on what is Yehliu Geopark and why it was a national treasure before we arrived here. So the gist was due to the unique limestone composition of the land here in Yehliu, wind and soil erosion naturally formed various rock formations that can’t be found anywhere else. They refer those rocks as sculptures made entirely by nature. They have rock formation that looks like a shoe, elephant, gorilla. The most popular is the Queen’s head because it looks like a head of a lady in bare shoulders. The rocks that looks like foot warts for me were mushroom rocks. Somehow, when I was here they don’t like warts anymore because I find the land color gorgeous to look at personally. So the photos maybe just don’t give enough justice to the beauty of this place, I tried to capture it on my own but even my captured photos may not be enough. I tried my best though.
Here’s the Queen’s Head. The line for this one is soooo long and we just have little time inside #YehliuGeopark so we decided not to pursue having close photo-ops with this rock and just have photo with her from where we stood. It’s just sad to know the inevitable fate of Queen’s head. It’s neck is significantly thinner compared to ten years ago naturally because of erosion. So in the future, it is expected that the head will eventually fall-off.
In the end,I enjoyed my time here because ir’s like a museum or exhibit made by nature. BUT sadly, the alotted time by Klook was not enough to see all rock sculptures. We did not see Queen’ head up close and I didn’t see the candles rock which looks like nipples for me.
Is the time alotted by KLOOK enough for Yehliu? A big NO! Unfortunately 70 minutes was not enough. Just walking to the site would already take you 15 minutes and then going back will cost you another 15 minutes. The time left for everyone to see the rocks will just be around 30-40 minutes.
Destination 2: Yin-yang Sea and Thirteen Layer Remains
These are some shots of Yin Yang Sea from the observation deck and the 13-layer remains which was the old copper factory that was suspected to be responsible to Yin-Yang Sea phenomenon. It was called Yin-Yang as it looks like the duality symbol from top view. Our tour guide said that it only looks like this on the surface. That if you swim just a bit deeper in the sea, it’s just all blue.
IS the time alotted here enough? Yes, We only stayed there for 15 minutes as there was nothing to do much here aside from sightseeing. We also didn’t see anyone swimming there.
Destination 3: Golden Waterfalls
The stones are coated with gold due to several mining around the area during old times. The sun was not directly hitting the waterfalls that day so it was not that obvious in pictures. Other parts on the way here though were indeed glowing in gold color. At this point, I realized that Taiwan was really big in gold mining industry before.
Is the time allotted here enough? Yes. We only spent 10 minutes here. There’s no activity here other than sightseeing also. No swimming is allowed as the water is poisonous for skin contact.
Destination 4: Jiufen Old Street
Wandering the place that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away! Jiufen Old Street. We ate a lot of food here.
This is not for those who doesn’t like narrow and crowded spaces.
Amei tea house is a hundred years old tea house in Jiufen Old Street. It’s the most popular site because it is said to be the inspiration of Hayao Miyazaki for the design of the Bathhouse in Spirited Away. For those who are not a fan or not even familiar, you may find this teahouse very expensive. I saw a lot of pictures of this teahouse and I believe it’s more gorgeous at night because of the red lantern ornaments.
Random shots food stalls. Filipinos will be delighted to stroll around Jiufen because once Taiwanese vendos see your faces, or hear you speak, they will go “Pogi Maganda, bili na kayooo!” It goes to show that Filipinos became common tourists in Taiwan after the country lifted the visa requirement.
Food tripping in Jiufen. Basically what we did in Jiufen.
In summary, Jiufen Old street is a haven for Spirited Away fanatics. For non-fans, this is haven for food trips and souvenir hunters. The streets are narrow and full of stairs. Our tour guide said to be wary of going upstairs as tourists could easily get lost in the myriad of stairs. If you are not into crowded narrowd spaces, you may get annoyed as this place can be Really crowded. Base on blogs that I’ve read it could be really hot in there too specially in summer. We’re lucky to be there in Autumn season. Klook gave us two hours to roam around here as this is also a perfect place to spend lunch time.
Is the allotted time in Jiufen Old Street enough? We stayed here two hours and I can say that was enough. We came back in time. I must say though to be careful in wandering here in Jiufen as it the narrow streets could make someone lost it’s way.
This the little Niagara of Taiwan as it resembles the popular Niagara falls. And true that statement, it was really cute. It also create a mini rainbow when directly hit by sunlight. Like golden waterfalls, this one was also barricaded and it looks like it’s also prohibited for swimming.
And since Shifen is known for Sky lanterns as well, we found this shop selling mini sky lantern lamps. And I found them really cute and perfect for portraiture background.
Aside from gazing at the waterfalls, what we did here is …you guess it right, eat again!
Is the time allotted here enough? Well I can say yes. We had little time to finish our food but it was on us. The area was not that big. We only stayed here for 50 minutes.
Destination 6: Shifen Old Street
It’s my personal choice not to fly a skylantern in Shifen Old Street. The reason would sound “kill joy” so I woud rather not disclose it here. But I enjoyed watching families, friends and lovers as they successfully launch their sky lanterns riddled with their written wishes. I just silently enclosed my wishes as they fly it haha. Kidding aside, our tour guide told us how sky lantern started in Shifen Old Street. In times of war, a soldier was stranded in a field and desired to get help silently as the enemies were around. Given that there are no cellphones before, the means of long distance communications is through smoke. But it was night time and smoke would look rather invisible. So the smart soldier imitated the principle of hot air balloon with just papers. He designed it and successully sent a “Send Help” through the sky. He was saved after that. That’s how the sky lantern was born. It’s good to know that there are only few places in Taiwan licensed to fly sky lanterns and Shifen is one of them. In this place this is a cultural tradition. Out tour guide also noted that if ever your wishes in the skylantern came true, you should go back here and send a “Thank you” message again by flying another sky lantern. But she stressed that when you wish,you should also work hard to achieve it. Makes sense.
When I see Shifen Old Street in instagram, I thought this train tracks are already inactive. Well, I was wrong. It was completely active. And people have to rush out bringing their lanterns away when the police whistles signalling the coming train.
SO ONCE AGAIN, WE EAT AGAIN!
MUST EAT: CHICKEN RICE!
Just want to share this chicken wings with rice. This was included in our Kloor tour in Shifen Old Street. This was absolutely delicious. We thoughts it was just an ordinary fried chicken wings. It turns out it was grilled and I think it is marinated in a different way because of its rich unfamiliar taste. The rice also was infused inside the chicken wings. This is definitely a perfect meal for someone on the go.
MUST EAT! PEANUT ICE CREAM ROLL!
One also must not skip eating this Taiwanese Dessert , Peanut Ice Cream Roll. One of the uinforgettable eats in Taiwan that we had. We also availed this as part of our Klook Tour and their stall in Shifen Old Street was just beside the tracks.
IS THE ALLOTTED TIME ENOUGH? YES, 70 minutes was enough. I did not feel deprived with our time here.
This is the end of our tour. We returned to the same meeting place we had that morning in Ximen MRT. We arrived at around 6:30pm just like what they promised in the itinerary. After that we went souvenir shopping in Ximending and Shilin Night Market. We also had a memorable dinner in Modern Toilet Restaurant . Below is the link for the continuation of our Day2 adventure.
4.5 out of 5 stars!
I totally recommend this tour specially for first timers in Taiwan because of the following reasons
Our tour guide Vickie is proficient in English and were able to present historical facts about the places we have visited which made the tour more enjoyable while we were on our way to next destinations.
The inclusive food (the chicken rice and peanut ice cream roll) were delicious and truly memorable. I recommend everyone to avail this version of the package.
The bus is cozy and full of safety features for the passengers.
It is affordable and it covered a lot of places in North Coast of Taiwan! As of this writing, this tour only costs P756.00 per person.
The only cons that I can think of was the lack of time in Yehliu Geopark. We missed a lot of rock structures because the area was really big. But overall, the experience was great!
Once again, here’s the VLOG version of this blog. See this magnificent places in action.
And if you’re interested to check on our Day 1 Adventure, here’s the link.
I hope this blog would be helpful to you in planning your next Taiwan trip!
After robbing a bank, a group of thugs has to split the loot but they have to fight for it. Who will get the biggest cash?
I invite you to join our recent Christmas Party through our VLOG as we spend it by eating and playing boardgames. (Yeah that’s how we party!)
In addition, every year I sponsor one official game among my friends and with REAL cash prize as my gift to them. This year it’s Cash N’ Guns which looks like a money heist game. These are the things I love about this game.
It’s very easy to learn . I don’t like boardgames that has complex rules. I like games that I can easily teach others.
The playing time will last only for 30 minutes. Each round can only last for 3 minutes. Total game consisted of 8 rounds that’s why it can reach 30 minutes. In my experience, this is considerable shorter as some boardgame can last for 2 hours to conclude. I love that Cash N’ Guns is something you can play easily with beginners.
Moreover, it is very exciting as it will test your instinct and your acting skills. This is a chance to point a gun to your friends for fun. This is my second favorite boardgame now next to Avalon (which I have’t blog yet)
I just changed it to numerical form and added some tips.
GOAL of the PLAYERS: Have the highest cost of money while still being alive after 8 rounds.
Routine of the game.
One player is the “The Godfather” or the boss. You can assign this within the group or I suggest the group play “rock, paper, scissors” to win the GodFather role as it has a special powerful role.
2. Each player will be given 8 cards. This will serve as the bullets. The three red card means you are loading a bullet to your gun. The five blue cards means “empty”.
3.Loot cards are revealed on the table. It could be in a form of cash, diamonds,paintings, medicine (to heal your wounds if you got injured by previous rounds) or additional red card for bullets.
4. Each players will load their guns by secretly choosing a red card (with bullets) or a blue card (empty).
5. Godfather will count to three, and on three, all players will point a gun to whoever they want to be out of the game.
6. It’s time to activate Godfather’s role! Godfather can change one gun pointing at him and choose to point it to other player.
7. After a pause to observe threats and measure the seriousness in an opponent’s eyes, the Boss counts to three again and anyone who doesn’t want to risk getting shot can “FOLD” and remove themselves with this round.
(If you choose to fold, you can’t participate in the loot even the gun pointing at you is empty. If you choose to fold and the gun pointing at you has bullets, then it is a good decision. You may not get cash in the round but you won’t get an injure sign and try your luck in next rounds. If a player get three injure signs, they will die and permanently removed from the game.)
8. Everyone reveal their cards . If the card is RED or BANG, then the target who did not choose to FOLD, will have an injured sign. He won’t get any loot. If the card is BLUE, then the target who also did not choose to FOLD will be happy as he can get money in this round.
9. Starting with the Boss, those who did not get injured on the round will take turns in getting one loot card at a time until everyone has claimed.
10. Repeat steps 1-9 until round 8. Remember that each player only has three bullets as default so there are rounds that their guns will be empty. The key is to “see it through” base on your keen observations. There are also times that multiple guns will be pointing at you. If three of them are all “RED cards” then you are dead instantly in that round if you did not “FOLD” so you should decide wisely. Lastly, be mindful on who’s getting a lot of money. You can stop him from winning by targeting him in the next rounds.
11. After eight rounds, the game ends. Whoever has the most diamonds receives a big bonus. Painting value is based on the number of paintings collected. Then add all the cash. Whoever has the biggest value wins the game.
These steps might feel daunting when you read it but they are really easy one you played the first round. You can watch us play in my vlog below.
Also sharing with you the photos of our awarding ceremony.
Just in case you’re interested, we played in Ludo Boardgame Bar and Cafe’ Diliman Quezon City Branch. Their official website is http://www.ludogames.ph/.
I hope everyone would try playing any boardgame. I got a lot of jokes that boardgame is “boredgame” because it’s boring. I don’t think so. Playing boardgames is really fun and makes you disconnect from digital world from a while. What I love about it is it gets you to personally bond with your friends.
How about you? Do you also have your own favorite boardgame? Feel free to share it away!
Remember! You are awesome,
For inquiries and collaborations, LET’s CONNECT!!!!!!
I won’t be able to go on to another decade without properly reviewing the excitement, sadness and blessings of 2019. Also I would like to thank all the people who became part of this year. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
This year I dove into the world of voice artistry, went to four major travel destinations, jumped into vlogging and achieved a milestone in my career. Lovelife was exciting at some point but went meh. At least we tried,re-learn and reflect. Better luck next year. Hahahaha!
January 2019: Enrolled in a voice acting school. Got my first voiceover and dubbing experiences. Met talented mentors and classmates. My school ID was wrong. Should be Gurezu.
February 2019. Memorable shoot. I love the props, the venue , the outfit and the model. I hated the weather though. Such pain in the ass.
Graduated as voice artist and even had a radio show. The Villa Jovita adventure happened on Feb but published my blog on March. It went on to be my second popular blog. It rakes views everyday according to my wordpress stats. It’s a small happiness for small bloggers like me.
Finally passed AWS SYS OPS Assoc Exam, completing the AWS Associate Trifecta! It was memorable because I learned my exam date just the morning of the exam itself. I even tried to obtain a med cert just to be excused by AWS. But I was not really sick and I was not good in lying. I just went on with it and just prayed hard for the best. Also after the examination, an earthquake struck Metro Manila. I was in Glorietta, ready for lunch after passing the exam then people came running out of the mall. I had to abandon my lunch order.
To celebrate, I joined a tour group going to Jomalig. I’ve been wanting to go to Jomalig but the 6-hour boat ride always held me back. But because I was happy I took the plunge. I have never joined a big group full of strangers too. So it’s another first for me. At the end everything was worth it. Jomalig is truly a paradise and I gain a friend.
Also this month, I became close to someone which I will call Noot Noot. Won’t go much with the details. Just want to say he made my April colorful. But that’s just it.
Aside from Jomalig, I also went to Pangasinan with my DGROUP team. I traveled twice, flirt a little (charot) and passed my certification exam. What a beautiful summer.
I also engaged in an online radio talk show in Vg8 Radio. And it was also my first time to have Kawa bath experience.
June 2019. We celebrate Mama’s birthday with extended family. It was different from other celebration because here we were complete. Brother’s gf was also with us. The place is called Torres Land Farm and this resort would take you around the world. Read my blog about it here: https://gurezu.com/2019/06/
Finally made a youtube channel and published my first official vlog. I also got addicted with Black Mirror and decided to write episode analysis.
Here’s my very first Gurezu Reviews Vlog by the way:
August 2019. Mindblowing and unexpected. I just felt happy to be nominated. But to win was a blast. Thank you Lord! My only regret was I did not prepared a speech. Ended up with generic thank you.
And of course, this month I went to Cebu with my Dgroup friends. Our trip to Sumilon Island was my personal fave. Of course this marks another first, to encounter a whaleshark. Here’s my Highlight VLOG of my Cebu Trip.
Finally, after long months of hiatus, I went back to organizing photoshoots. Got two photoshoots this month.
This is not my first time in Boracay. But this is a milestone for me since it was our grandest family getaway ever. We grew up swimming in Manila Bay only and the idea of Boracay is far-fetched. So this is a memorable experience for us. I organized this and also the main sponsor here as part of my celebration for my birthday and winning an award at work.. The highlight of this trip was my first parasailing experience. I was not able to do that the first time I went to Boracay because I could not afford it. So I came back with a vengeance.
To reach Boracay, we traveled by sea instead of airplane. I blogged about our 2go ship experience here.
First out of the country since 2014. First time to prepare and plan for the itinerary. Usually kaladkarin lang ako e. I realized preparing for itinerary is an ART! It gave me stress but I enjoyed it.
This has to be my chillest December. Main reason, I did not participate in any big parties. I did not spent the month practicing a dance. Instead, I participated in a month long EAT-ALL-YOU -CAN BUFFET. Started with Sambokojin, then BGC HIgh Street Cafe, NUI Vikings then YAKIMIX PRIME. I certainly gain weight. There’s no denying it. What I love about this December, I got to join a party as a volunteer in an orphanage for a day. I spent Christmas with my favorite Tita and Tito. I had time to actually buy gifts and attend small parties. Also had time to attend Simbang Gabi again! This may be my chillest December to date but I truly enjoyed it.
My recap here could be full of HIGH’s. But to tell you the truth, I entered the year 2019 with a heavy heart. Particularly, I felt stressed at work and I was not good at controlling my emotions. ( I cried a lot at work) That was the reason why I enrolled in a voice acting school as a way to vent my emotion. Voice acting school is enjoyable but to tell you the truth I did not do well with it. I felt short with so many areas. I’m not sure if I ‘m going to pursue it any further. But I did not regret it at all. I know some day everything that I did will make sense.
I also had slight heartbreak this year. I would say slight because the person was far anyway. And I have this lingering doubt from the start. But just in case, he thought of me and this blog, I want to tell him this.
To Noot Noot,
This is tot. Thank you for the short time you comforted me with your words. You came at the the time when everything was terrible. And you made me feel I was not alone. When you were gone, surprisingly everything went well on my end. I realized maybe that was your only mission in my life, ot make that dark period bearable. And that’s all it could ever get. I don’t hold any grudges anymore. I just pray that you are well now wherever you are. —END—
I also want to write another letter for a different person.
And to the person who confessed that he liked me and formally ask me for a date. I want to tell you that you are very brave. And I hope that even if I did not accept your feelings, your courage will not falter. Someday the right person will come and she will deserve your courage. So don’t let our situation kill that moment. I am not brave as yours. And I know only the brave ones will get what they deserve. I hope I can teach myself to be brave too. I admired that. –END–
So yeah, that’s another low of 2019. My lovelife was still meh. But I get reminded and re-learn things.
However, my greatest frustration or low I think would be I did not finish my novel. Again. I was so positive I could do it this year. But I did not maintain the momentum. The good thing was I wrote a lot. I did not finished it but the plot was already there. i just have to write it. That’s why this January 2019, I will carry it on. I don’t want to give up. Please pray for me.
The important lesson I learned is don’t lose hope that your situation won’t change. Surprisingly at the later half of the year, work became lighter after so much prayer. And I guess the rest of the year rewarded me for the hardship I went through with the first half of the year. I did not expect to get an award and travel with my family and then abroad. I believe everything is with God’s grace. And now it made sense that the hardship taught me something.
So if you are having a hard time and you entered 2020 with a heavy heart, let not that determine your whole year. There are many things that can happen. If you want it to be better, sometimes you have to fight for it with your spirit. And if still hard, pray harder. Focus on what you have and start there. I tell you that a great turnaround will happen. Just have faith.
And that’s it for my yearly recap. Cheers!
Remember, you are awesome and don’t let others make you feel otherwise.
For our day 1 we purchased Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card. This includes unlimited rides for MRT, buses and free access to 16 attractions. We bought it through Klook though these link. We only bought the one-day pass version for only P1948.00. It also has two and three-day unlimited version.
These are the 16 attractions included in the card. I highlighted those we intend to visit with our pass
A one-time visit to each attraction during the validity period
Taipei 101 Observatory
National Palace Museum
Main Building of Chiang Kai-Shek Shilin Residence
Miramar Entertainment Park Ferris Wheel
Taipei Children’s Amusement Park
Tamsui Historical Museum
Tamsui to Fisherman’s Wharf round trip ticket
Sky Lantern Police Station Electric Sky Lantern ticket
National Museum of Marine Science and Technology
Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
Heping Island Park
We also found out that Taipei unlimited fun-pass card comes with a booklet that contains the MRT train station map, introduction on the free 16 attractions and sample itineraries so you can maximize the card. It also comes with a book of coupons for freebies and discounts for several restaurants. That was really amazing. This unlimited fun pass card was really designed for tourist to have a hassle-free tour and added it with surprises.
Opening a page of the booklet guide.
Scanning through pages of the guide, these pages are my favorite. They have suggestion itineraries you can follow so you can maximize the Fun Pass Card!
THE BEST THING: KLOOK HAS BUY 1 GET 1 at 50% Off for AVAILING the TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD.
Because of this our expenses shrink further. Supposed to be, we should be paying a total of 5778 PHP. But because of the promo, we only paid 4920 PHP. Imagine the savings if your group is in even number.
Once you bought this through klook, you will have a choice where to claim the card, either in NAIA , Taoyuan Airport or Taipei Main Station. We claimed ours in Taoyuan Airport Klook kiosk upon landing and I must tell that Klook kiosk has a very long line! We spent almost an hour waiting for our fun pass card.
Later I will do a computation on how much we saved using our 1 Day Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card in our Day 1 in Taiwan.
OUR TEMPORARY HOME in TAIWAN
By the way this is our temporary home in Taiwan. I am pretty proud on booking this one. It felt like an achievement so I am sharing this with you.
I chose this because it’s near Ximen MRT Station where our Klook meet-up were also located for the next days. By near, I mean it’s 3-5 minutes walking distance away. It looks stylish with it’s French-inspired interior. It has wifi! It has refrigerator, free toiletries, towels, complimentary coffee and tea. And most of all, it is affordable, almost as same as the price of capsule hotel if not cheaper. If you’re interested to book this , this is the link in AIRBNB. The only cons that I could think of is there was no elevator and this is on third floor. But I could say that only a minor issue since we seldom took the stairs anyway since we were out most of the time. To watch my tour in our airbnb, watch it here in this link:
By the way this day 1 happened on November 14, 2019. It was Autumn in Taiwan. It was really cold but not so on the level that you will need a thick jacket or coat. The temperature only played around 18 degrees Celsius. It was like hanging around in the usual air-conditioned room in the Philippines.
Destination 1: Breakfast at JSP
Breakfast at JSP Exact location: No. 150號, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108 Google map reference at number 2 of this link here.
We started the day a bit late because we arrived at our Airbnb at around 4 am and managed to sleep at around 5 am. In our ideal itinerary, we should wake-up at around 6 am. Yikes! But of course, it’s better to be recharged so we allow ourselves more time to doze-off.
Our Airbnb was conveniently located neart Ximending MRT and Shopping district. So it won’t be hard to find a restaurant to spend our first meal. With that we chose this orangy restaurant called JSP.
I have read about JSP when I was still researching on the good place to eat around Ximending. This is one of the recommendation as they offer Taiwanese breakfast staples.
As you can see above, their menu is in Chinese characters and we were overwhelmed at first. But JSP is tourist friendly. They offered us English menu and a marker so we can mark our choices. They have a wider range of choices from sandwiches, burgers and set meals.
We chose set-meals. My personal choice was the Black Pepper set which comprises of noodles,porkchop, egg and milk tea. Milk tea could be hot, ice or warm. I would have chosen hot coffee but there was no coffee in the menu. That was a real surprise! Milk tea is indeed the more popular choice here. It’s proven as we spent next days only tasting coffee through sachet packs we bought from 7-11.
I liked it my breakfast and find it really delicious. At one point though, I surrendered in spiciness (entirely my fault). My friend who was with me find the meal weird. He said it was like having spaghetti for breakfast. While eating, there was a Taiwanese who asked to share our table. Of course, we didn’t mind. He sat across me which then I saw that he was handsome. Hahaha! Such a good morning
Destination 2: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Entrance fee: Free How to get here: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall has it’s own MRT station. So from MRT Ximen station, ride Songshan-Xindian-Line and drop-off exactly to Chiang Kai Shek Station. Journey would only take 4 minutes since they are just two stations away from each other.
I have seen this place quite a lot of times already but I was utterly surprised when I visited this personally. It’s so big and majestic! It made me feel like I visited an old kingdom. Something that you won’t appreciate just looking at the photos and videos. There are a lot of Taiwanese in yellow when we visited this place. It looks like they are preparing for a big event or something.
There are three palace-like structure in this memorial hall. I had thought of doing levitation in front of it. So the following is the usual photo gallery. Enjoy!
Entrance Fee: NT$ 240 (PHP 402.00) , paid through Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card
How did we get there: It’s with MRT station only and a little bit of walking. The journey may take around 30-40 minutes.
From Chiang Kai Shek MRT station, ride the Tamsui-Xinyi line and drop to Daan Station.
From Daan Station, transfer to the train going to Taipei Zoo Station.
From Taipei Zoo Station, take a short walk to Maokong Gondola Station.
This ride is one of the free attractions inclusive of Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass card. You just have to go to the gift shop name “CHANCE” beside the Gondola Station. Show the card and they will give you the round trip tickets.
Here we made sure we went for Crystal Cabin where the floor was glass.It’s a good way to enjoy panoramic views of Taipei before reaching Maokong station where a string of tea houses awaits. There is a separate line for it from the regular cabin so I made sure to follow the signs. There was this sign on the wall to remind everyone to assess themselves before riding the crystal cabin gondola.
You can even see the tip of Taipei 101 from here.
I did not take much photos that time because I took videos instead. But I was able to capture this one scenery. The turquoise water looks awesome and beautiful.
The only downside of this ride was we got to share the cabin with other group of strangers. So we did not take loads of pictures. Although I didn’t mind actually. I still made sure I have pictures. If you are traveling in a group of five , you’ll surely occupy one crystal gondola by yourselves. We did not anticipate this. I thought each group would have their own cabin like in Ferris wheels.
This was not my first gondola ride. I have one also during our Malaysian trip. It was one of my favorite activities because it was really exciting going up with clouds. So I made sure that I won’t miss this in Taiwan as well. I hope Philippines would have one as well because it’s not only a fun ride but a means of transportation as well. A gondola ride along Edsa? Hmm one can only dream!!
Destination 4: Lunch at Maokong
The gondola has four stopover stations. The farthest is Maokong where several tea plantation is located.
Just below Maokong station there was a string of teahouses and food stalls. We opt for food stall for our lunch. We ate the popular stinky tofu which smells fairly normal to us, stir fried chicken and meatball soup. We are not that impressed with our lunch. If we have more time in Maokong, we would have visited a tea plantation and tea museum. Also eat in a legit tea house. But that would require a day and we were running out of time.
We did not stay much at Maokong as we only intended to ride the Gondola and eat it our lunch there. Nevertheless, Maokong offers greenery sights. It seems far already from the busy Taipei city.
Destination 5: Shilin Official Residence
Entrance Fee: Free but there is a special area which has payment which is included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass
How did we get here: It’s essentially going back to Gondola ride then MRT again with short walks.
Go back to Maokong Station for Gondola ride back to Taipei Zoo Gondola station.
Walk going to Taipei Zoo MRT , Daan station bound
From Daan Station, transfer to red line Shilin MRT station bound.
Get-off Shilin MRT station then take a 10-minute walk going to Shilin Official Residence
This is the place where Chiang Kai Shek and her wife spent the last days of their lives. Aside from being a home, this is a horticulture ground as Mrs. Chiang Kai Shek adore flowers, roses being her favorite. To celebrate autumn season, they are having Chryantheum flower festival. Sadly, it was still not starting when we came here. They were celebrating it around Nov 18 if I remember that correctly. We were days earlier from the festival but at least we saw some of the attractions they were preparing. I also love the tranquility and lush greeneries of this place.
Destination 6: Elephant Mountain
Entrance fee: None
How did we get here: Through MRT again with a lot of walking this time.
From Shilin Official Residence, walk going back to Shilin MRT Station
From Shilin MRT station, ride the red line going to Xiangshan MRT Station
From Xiangshan MRT, take a 5 minute walk to the foot of Elephant Mountain trail.
Elephant Mountain is a popular mountain which you can ascend easily for 15-20 minutes through flight of stairs. This is popular because you can catch the beautiful cityscapes view including Taipei 101. But be ready to have endurance. If you hate climbing stairs, this is not for you.
We were supposed to catch the sunset here but arrived too late. Had fun editing stars in my captured photo using Snapseed double exposure tool. Swipe left to see the original. Meanwhile, this is Taipei101. Once the tallest skyscraper in the world until 2010. Now it falls to eleventh place. Still, it is beautiful tower to look at specially at night. Ascending the top of the tower with its super fast elevator (reached the top of the tower in less than a minute) is one of the unforgettable experiences I had in Taipei
Destination 7: Taipei 101
Destination 8: Taipei 101 Observatory
Entrance Fee: Regular price is 600 NTD or 1006.63 Pesos. W e did not pay onsite anymore as part of Taipei Fun Pass Card. All we did was to go straight in Klook kiosk. which has no line at all when we arrived. Feeling VIP in a way.
How did we get here? It’s just one MRT away from Elephant Mountain.
Alternatively, Elephant Mountain is already walking distance with Taipei 101. But because we were tired, we went back to Xiangshan MRT station to ride Taipei101 bound line. Taipei 101 has it’s own MRT station and it would just take 2-3 minutes to reach.
Once the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 is the ultimate landmark of Taipei. Some says that you never really gone to Taipei if you did not climb your way up to Taipei 101 observatory. If you’re wondering what’s inside this skyscraper, The first few floors was an ordinary mall. Din Tai Fung restaurant is also there. The line of people there was CRAZY! I have eaten in Din Tai Fung branch here in Manila,Philippines . I think the food was great but it seems not memorable to me. I can’t help but to wonder what the original Din Tai Fung here in Taiwan has to offer. Anyway, the entrance in Taipei 101 is free. It’s just the observatory deck which is not free.
What I love about visiting Taipei 101 1. Mini-show in the elevator ceiling. The ascend would only take less than a minute and within that time, we were entertained in a magical presentation about stars in it’s ceiling . I was not able to understand the Taiwanese voiceover at all but I did not expect that elevators could be magical. 2. The 360 view of the city. Although honestly, I liked the view in Elephant Mountain more because there were no glass doors and you can still see the shape and architecture of the buildings rather than just vein of lights.
3. But my most favorite of all was when I got to see and learn about dampers. Damper like the one in our back stabilizes high structures like Taipei 101 for it to withstand earthquakes, typhoon and other natural disasters. The floor has an audio visual presentation that includes a cctv of real earthquake footage and showed how the damper moved to make sure Taipei 101 will be alright. The calculation of the mass and size of the damper are critical for the safety engineering of the building. It was amazing. That’s Science. Bitch!
4. The surprises did not end there. As we go to the elevator going to the ground floor, you will pass through a jewel and stone shop. EVERYTHING IS SPARKLING in glass cages! It was just wow!
Destination 7: Ximending Shopping District
Entrance Fee: None
How did we get here:
from Taipe1 101 MRT Station, ride red line and get-off Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
from Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall station, transfer to green line.
from Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall stat m Chiang Kai Chek Memorial Hall station, transfer to green line.
They called Ximending “the Harajuku of Taipei” because of the heavy influence of Japanese fashion culture in this area. It’s not ordinary you’ll see a girl casually wearing a full lolita outfit here. Just like in Japan!
Spending our first night in Ximending Shopping District. This pedestrian lane is popular with the tourists itself. In a way, it’s a sign government’s support for LGBT community. Taiwan already open its doors for same sex marriage. So it’s endearing to witness two men holding hands while walking in public. Although I didn’t see outright PDA.
At this point we were super exhausted with all the walking and climbing we had to with MRT and Elephant Mountain. On top of that, we were really hungry too. We came across this humble restaurant in yellow. We didn’t know how to call this restaurant but it has a partner milk-tea stand called Bubble Lee.
They only have one staff who knows a little English and he’s the one communicating with the customers.
But of course, they have English version menu for tourist like us. All we have to do is point or look out for any delicious looking food being prepared.
Dinner for tonight, noodles with sort of Egg Salad.
Best partnered with Bubble Lee’s milk tea. I love it. I am satisfied with this dinner.
We roam a bit more and there we see public performers. I’ve actually like this guy below. His perfomance was amazing.
Also here in Ximending you will see the 4-storey WATSONS branch. What more amazing, it is open in 24-hours. I bought a bottle of contact solutions here because my supply was confiscated in the airport. I forgot the rule of the size of the bottles for hand-carry. Yikes!
There were lot of souvenir shops, food , clothing and several known store. It was indeed a shopping district. But because our bodies were screaming for sleep and rest, we did not do much shopping. From Ximending , we walked our way back to our temporary AirBNB room. This is the end of our Day 1 in Taiwan Adventure.
THE BIG QUESTION. DID WE BEAT THE TOTAL PRICE of BUYING THE FUN PASS CARD?
This is the itinirary we plan for day 1. But due to unforeseen circumstances (aka we woke up late), we were not able to visit National Palace Museum.
Day 1 Theme: City Attractions and Historical sites
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
National Palace Museum
Shilin Official Residence
Ximending Shopping District
06:30 AM-8:00 AM (PREP-TIME) get-up, prepare, breakfast
08:00 AM-8:15 AM (WALK) going to MRT Ximen station, then head to Chiang Kai Shek (Ride Songshan-Xindian-Line)
08:15 AM-9:00 AM CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL (45 mins)
09:00AM-09:30 AM Ride MRT from Chiang Kai Shek Station (Tamsui-Xinyi line) going to Daan Station)
09:30AM-10:30 AM Daan Station to Taipei Zoo for Mongola ride
10:30AM-11:00 AM MONGOLA RIDE to MAOKONG (one way)
11:00AM-12:00 PM LUNCH at MAOKONG.
12:00PM- 1:00 PM GONDOLA RIDE back to TAIPEI ZOO then back to Daan MRT Station. Ride Red line.
1:00-1:30 PM DAAN MRT station (red line) to National Palace Museum
1:30-2:45 PM NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM TOUR
2:45-3:00 PM Ride R30 Bus going to Shilin Official Residence
3:00-4:00 PM SHILIN OFFICIAL RESIDENCE TOUR
4:00-4:30 PM SHILIN MRT Station to Xiangshan station (ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN)
4:30-6:30 PM Elephant Mountain climb and Dinner near the area
6:30-7:00 PM Go to Taipei 101 (can walk or via MRT)
7:00-8:30 PM TAIPEI 101 TOUR
8:30-9:00 PM TAIPEI 101 MRT station to Chiang Kai Shek hall MRT (Green line) to MRT Ximen
9:00-11:00 PM Ximending Shopping District Tour, food trip, chill
11:00 PM-11:15 PM GO BACK to Hotel by walking from Ximending
11:15 Back to airbnb, Rest
HOW MUCH DID WE SAVE with TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD ?
So I created a simple calculation on how much one can save following my original itinerary and the real expenses we had that day. Please note that I used the pricing from http://www.rome2rio.com and klook. The price is in Philippine Pesos.
As you can see, if we followed the original itinerary, we would have saved a staggering 2406 PHP (in blue highlight). But due to lack of time (aka we woke up late because we slept at 5 am :P), we did not visit the National Palace Museum and the Main Building of Shilin Residence. Even so, we still beat the total price of three Fun Pass Card. We saved a total of P132.00 (in yellow highlight)!
I recommend everyone to purchase Unlimited Fun Pass Card for great savings and convenience. But only if you plan and stick to it. Otherwise, this card will be more expensive. Follow the steps below.
TIPS on USING TAIPEI FUN PASS CARD
Check the location of the free attractions so you can plan your itinerary. You can look at the suggestion of the Taipei Fun Pass booklet.
I am not sure how long the line is for NAIA terminal and Taipei Main Station KLOOK kiosk but maybe you can try these two. The line in Taoyuan was really long.
Most important! Start early so you can follow your plan and beat the price of Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass
You can also take a look at the 2-day and 3-day Version of Fun Pass. Maybe you can get more savings. It was difficult to beat the card in just one day. I would like to try this option next time.
I hope you enjoy my write-up about my experience in Taipei and in a way help you in planning your itinerary. Taipei is really nice and easy to get around with their transportation. Taiwanese are really friendly and welcoming. Their immigration is also not that strict. And most of all, it’s budget friendly. I recommend this trip to everyone who want out of the country experience without breaking a bank.
Before closing this post, I would like to share with you my OOTD’s for day 1. Just like planning for itinerary, it’s a joy to plan the outfits. Would you agree?
YOU MAY ALSO WATCH MY VLOG about our Day 1 Adventure here: