Tuesday, February 22

Manila Ocean Park

Lately, Hubby and I seem to be enjoying spending our weekends doing short trips out of town or exploring famous tourists spots in Manila.  Dinner-movie combo has taken a backseat (or weekday seat in our case) cause there's just so much of Manila, and the Philippines in general, we haven't discovered.  And so last Saturday, you find silly couple conquering the vast Manila Ocean Park.

Oceanarium.  Ok, so I adore colorful fishes. And this was the perfect place for me to come and marvel at the different aqua marine creatures - from a safe tank distance.

Fish Spa.  I've wanted to try this for the longest time.  Especially since Dear Hubby has an old man's feet and he desperately needs to feed Dr. Fishes his dead skin cells.  While they can't claim any real therapy or medical relevance, there has been recorded incidence of Dr. Fishes' eating of the dead skin cells hastening the healing of a wound. Plus, seriously Hubby's feet afterward, was silky smooth!  Definitely worth the Php120 bucks we paid for 20 minutes.

Oceanarium: Php 400 (you get 10% off if you live in the Manila area)
Fountain Show: Php 300
Sea World Show: Php 200
Jelly Fish Museum: Php 160
Fish Spa: Php 120

There's some combo promotion but we didn't avail of them as we only wanted to see the Oceanarium and try the Fish Spa.

Sunday, February 20

Wakeboarding at Nasugbu

For Dear Hubby's 28th birthday, I decided that it's high time for some good clean adrenaline-rushed filled fun.  And so we drove the short drive from Manila to Nasugbu, Batangas and got ourselves some beginner's lessons in wakeboarding.

It was a Wednesday and traffic was super light, thank gawd, because we were starving already.

Lunch at the in-house restaurant.  Oddly enough, for a place that has unwashed table linens, prices were surprisingly high, I thought at first.  We both had the steak and it was delicious. So I berate myself silently for my earlier snooty judgment.


We mistaken thought that as beginners we would be able to do the ramps, and fly 360 degrees off the air. Umm, yeah. Maybe, next time.

Having a dinner to rush to back in Manila, we decided that it be best we just take the hour trial/tutorial.  It costs about Php 350/hour, wake boarding gear included.

I was able to stand after the second try, which I thought was pretty awesome of me (my blog, my rules!) Most everyone who tried it the first time commented about sore arms afterwards and having done it for an hour and half I thought mine would certainly have the not-so-desired sting effect, but nothing of the sort happened.

I'm not as good as the Hubby, who not only was able to stand immediately, but was able to finish an entire loop without falling flat on his face.

Some helpful tips:
1. Wear a rash guard.
2. Lago de Oro is a man made water park. Hence, the lake floor is a bit gooey when you stepped into it. Best to take aqua shoes with you.
3. Slather some UV45 at least. Unfortunately, there are no trees to block the ray of the sun.
4. Parking is free
5. From SLEX, take the Sta Rosa exit and just drive all the way to Nasugbu Batangas.  Lago de Oro is a good 45 minutes after the Nasugbu arc.
6.) 1 hour of wakeboarding session  costs about Php 350

30 Before 30 Checklist: the Dolphin Encounter

Most everyone I know, who has a proverbial bucket list, counts swimming with the dolphins pretty high up on their Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die or any similar less grimier version... And why not, the dolphins are one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth.  You look at them and you are instantly transported to kid-like state of happiness.

Last Monday, Dear Hubby gave me the greatest sweetest surprised since, well, his last greatest sweetest surprise.  He took me to Subic Ocean Adventure at Subic Bay, Olongapo City for some much desired swim encounter with the dolphins.

Swimming with the dolphins is fast becoming a popular travel activity in the area. However, reservations are still ideal since the park usually only accommodate a handful of lucky participants.  On weekends, swim encounters are suspended due to huge tour group, mostly Korean visitors at the Park.

Subic Ocean Adventure offers a number of ways you can enjoy the dolphins company.

There's the Beach Encounter for only Php 2,800, where your dolphin adventure starts with a big dolphin greeting by the beach shore.  Then you have a chance to touch, hug and even kiss this friendly mammals. And of course, there's plenty of time for some photo ops. (adventure: 30 minutes)

Second, is the Swim Encounter, which is what the Hubby and I did. For only Php 4,200 you have direct water interaction with this lovable creatures.  A 20-minute swim encounter, plus some dolphin training and a handful of other activities (i.e. dancing with the dolphins) Truly a once in a lifetime experience, worth every centavos. (adventure: 45 minutes)

Dear Hubby and I were just all smiles all throughout.  The trainer gives a 5 minute briefing about the different types of dolphins at the beginning of the session.  There we find out that ours is named, Cito, a bottleneck dolphin rescued in the bay area.  Excited as I was I tried very hard to listen to the instructor, but I was more worried about who will take our pictures. (Professional photographers at the park charge Php500 for the first 15 shots they will take) And finally our session was about to start.  We walked towards the beach and saw two dolphins making their way into the shore. *dies of happiness*  The instructor tells me to just grab onto to the fins and lay my body flat on his back.  It was pure awesomeness, I tell you.  Better than bungee jumping and cliff diving combined, IMO. (2 activities I had previously checked off my list, 2 equally exhilarating activity yet still manages to just come in second or third next to the dolphin encounter)

Third, for the dive enthusiasts, there's also the Dive Encounter at Php 5,500+.  Dive instructors will take you to one of the bay divisions for an intimate underwater experience with Flipper. (adventure: 30 minutes)

And lastly, there's the Photo Encounter, if you're like some and all you're after is a photograph and not the actual experience then for Php 500 you get your close-up time with the dolphins.

Total Adventure Cost: Php 6,000/person (includes tickets, meals, snacks, gas, and tollway fare)

Sunday, February 13

2nd Annual Pyrolympics

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework

Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y
Katy Perry. Fireworks

I have this huge suspended disbelief look whenever I'm in the presence of great fireworks display.  Maybe it's a bit silly, but I never get tired or get any less amazed watching even the cheapest Chinese firecracking powder being lighted up.  But last Saturday, cheap was definitely not on the vocabulary of the competing countries.  For our pre-NON-valentine's date, Dear Hubby and I came face to face with a truly awesome show.

The Pyromusical Competition runs til the end of March with the Philippines and United Kingdom performing the final curtain show.  The actual fireworks display last for a good 20 minutes per country, before that, there's a string of performers from the host country. In our case, a violinist from Korea and a dancer from Spain. Spongecola also performed, but like a kid not getting her candy at once, I decided to tune them out and just prayed that the person in charge of lighting the fireworks is as excited as I am and start lighting those damn things ahead of schedule.

Show starts at 7. But hey, we're in the Philippines, and we're nothing if not consistent, with being late.  Waited until 30 minutes past 7 before we heard the national anthems played.

I absolutely got goosebumps especially towards the end of Spain's show.  It was unbelievable, in the immortal words of Black Eyed Peas, BOOM BOOM POW!

Tickets are sold: Php 1500 (VIP w/ dinner) Php 500 (VIP), Php 250 (Gold) and the cheapest at Php 100 (Silver)

Friday, February 4

Bounce: Laundry and Dry Cleaners

Bounce Laundry is a Full Service Laundromat located at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Our professional laundry and dry-cleaning services offer our customers the convenience and hassle free domestic services enjoyed by even the most stressed executives in Manila, to give them a peace of mind.

Bounce Laundry uses only top grade powder and liquid detergents that ensures the quality of your clothes.  This means our detergents go through numerous testings to avoid any premature fading or damage to the fabric.

STORE HOURS: Mondays to Fridays – 7AM to 8PM
Saturdays to Sundays – 9AM to 7PM

Dry Cleaning
Pressing Service
Stuffed Toy Cleaning

ADDRESS: Unit 2M Kensington Place 29th Street corner 1st Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
CONTACT #: 0917-8822269 or 5867906

Friday, January 21

30 before 30 checklist

 My To-Do-List Snapshot

#4 Bungee Jumping: Macau Tower

The free fall took all but four seconds.  But hanging in there, upside down, 61 floors high, for what seemed like eternity, sure gave silly blogger a much needed heart jolt.  The look on my face during the brief interview says it all, "What the f*@$ am I doing here?"

1.) No, it's not a life changing experience.  It's a jump. A freaking HIGH jump, but let's get real, it won't cure cancer. I won't deny, it's pure awesomeness at its best, especially the feeling you get afterwards, but don't go into it thinking it will change anything after. No, I'm still as silly & scared as ever.
2.) It's 261 meters high. You're bungee jumping not from a cliff but from a tower that you can smack right back into if you're not careful, so no to showy jumps, you just need to lean off the edge and let go.
3.) Befriend other jumpers. More importantly, befriend the AJ Hackett staff.
4.) Total cost for this adventure is around Php 12,000

Friday, January 14

Trip to Shanghai, China

Happy New Year!!!! The following post is way overdue. Been swamped with a million and one things last quarter of 0-10 that I totally neglected this blog. Sorry readers! Anyway, enjoy some of the highlights from our trip to Shanghai.
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Out of sheer whim, a friend asked me to go to China for the 2010 World Expo and silly blogger logged onto her computer and bought herself a plane ticket to Shanghai that same minute.  Months later, I wanted to clobber myself for once again being such a spontaneous neurotic.  First off, I was worried that the timing was all screwy 'cause I had just started in a new job (which I will eventually quit, thank gawd) Second, I keep on forgetting that I'm supposed to be on saving up mode after all the trips the past month over.

But as soon as we touchdown at Shanghai International Airport, I knew the right choice was made. 

First stop of the night was our hotel along Nanpu Bridge.  Two reasons for checking into the hotel; 1. Cheap nightly rates 2. Vicinity was close to the World Expo.

After safely tucking in all our belongings, we hailed two cabs and headed out for a really really late dinner (or very early breakfast, depending on how you see it)

Yang's Fried-Dumplings.  Famous Xaio long bao place. The line was way too long, but the taste of yummy Xiao long bao's definitely worth the wait.

On our second day in Shanghai (well, technically, it was our first day), we were able to visit a number of famous tourist attractions.  Here are some of my favorite:

1. Xin Tian Di - is a very famous resto/bar district where the old and new collide.  The place effectively utilizes traditional Chinese architecture through its Shikumen buildings (red and gray 2-3 storey buildings) while at the same time bringing in modern pubs and clubs in the mix.

Drinking at a famous German pub, there was even a Pinoy band performing that night.

2. The Bund - Looks absolutely breath-taking at night.  Reminds me of Hubby's previous trip to London.  Shanghai's famous waterfront district makes me think that I was anywhere but in China.  All of the building has a very distinct European touch to it, and this is maybe/largely due to the fact that the French had previously formed settlement around the area.

Look, there's even a replica of New York's Times Square ball.
Oriental Pearl Tower - the highest tower in China and the third in the world.

 Jin Mao Tower - the second highest tower in China at 88 storeys high.

Shanghai World Trade Center - Hey, if it was good enough to be featured in a G.I.Joe's movie, then it's good enough for me.

3. Taikang Road (or as we like to refer to it, the "art-arts place") an almost kilometer street that showcases a wide range of boutiques, wi-fi cafe, kitchy stores, tattoo parlors and artsy fartsy studios.  Very Bohomian spirited.  In fact, Lonely Planet describes this as Shanghai's premiere art center.  How to get there by cab: just tell the driver: Tiánzǐfáng Lu

4. People's Square - Is actually along Nanjing Road but it deserves a separate mention on my list because silly blogger thinks its a self contained shopping mecca.  High rise malls, specialty boutiques, factory outlets, and the likes adorned the area.  The Madame Tusseud's Wax Museum is also within walking distance.

5. Nanjing Road - Stretching for what seemed like 100 kilometers, this street is famous for one thing and one thing alone: SHOPPING.  From cheap hard to find trinkets to over the top high end brands, Nanjing Road has its all.

Other notable mention:

Plenty of Caucasian foreigners visit this place because of good fabric deals. Hey, even our friend was able to buy 2 duvet set complete with pillow and bed spreads for only 600RMB!

Next stop, St. Petersburg Russia! Woot!