Hey guys! Sorry for the long hiatus.
Was enjoying the Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year break.
Didn't do much traveling, infact I think the only place I went was Thailand. I guess I was just taking some 'me' time and reflecting on my 2016.
2016 was a really crazy rollercoaster. I've never had such a crazy year EVER. I am a bit embarrassed to say this, let alone online where the whole world can see/read, but it was probably one of the most worst times of my life. Passings of two relatives and other personal issues, it was just mad. Like I couldn't catch a breather at all. But it was definitely an eye opener; reminded me of how the smallest smallest things matter.
Anyhoos, lets get to this!
A short trip I did towards the end of 2016 with the fambam to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Sisters twinning look.
I swear it wasn't on purpose, I barely had any sleep the night before and I usually love rocking up to the airport in my most comfy get up, even if I am traveling to some where warm I'll still be dressed in leggings and all that but I would pack lighter wear in my hand carry if I want to change in the airport or hotel (since check in nowadays are 2pm sometimes even 3pm).
We checked into the Pan Pacific Manila and after freshening up we took a walk from our hotel and around the area. Hunting for food, and just well, exploring.
Look at those cables!
I swear there were zapping noises at times it totally freaked me.
I love how every corner we walked past has a lot history to it, for example this gorgeous church.
It was such a beautiful coincidence that there was a wedding ongoing inside too.
I really do have a thing for churches although I am not a Christian, but they just brings this calmness to me.
Switched into something more relaxing as it was a tad bit humid but still quite windy.
The weather wasn't too bad as compared to Kuala Lumpur.
We walked for about 30 minutes or so just around our hotel area before settling down at one of their famous restaurants called The Aristocrat Restaurant where I was told to try out one of the filipino's famous dish called Adobo.
Then we headed back to our hotel to enjoy the sunset and happy hour promo, my fave haha!
It got windier as the sun was setting, it was pretty relaxing and nice.
As we stayed at Pan Pacific Manila towards the beach side, we had a pretty view of the ocean from their Pool Bar.
Called it an early night from the lack of sleep I had and started the next day fresh!
We went on to their other historical spots likewhich is located in the middle of the city. It is definitely one of the places you have to visit when you're there if you're into sightseeing and all.
You'd probably spot school kids having field trips there and tourist with selfie sticks walking around, however I doubt it would get overcrowded as it is a vast huge land of beautiful buildings and plush fields.
You do pay an entrance fee but you get to roam around the whole area. And it is HUGE. You can also opt for a carriage ride that would bring you around. It is also a very beautiful place for pictures. And inside there's buildings with written history about the fort and its city.
Us being silly haha. Erin probably had too much coffee though.
Of course we ended up taking some "candid"/OOTD/touristy shots, eventually. The background was just so gorgeous I couldn't resist! Like the detailing on this door pictured below.
Like how can you not love this?!
Anyways we had a simple dinner of grilled seafood and meat before calling it another early night. One thing was because I did not stay in the middle of Manila, it wasn't convenient for me to travel to clubs or bars at night. The bars around my hotel area were called 'Gentlemens Bars'.. no need to brain that lol.
The next day we headed to the aquarium. I had to beg my parents to be on board for this. I somehow have a thing for aquariums, zoos, you get the drift. It's a must see for me anywhere I travel to.
Although their aquarium was nothing much to shout about, I would give them A for effort on the deco part with the play of lightings. Especially the jelly fish exhibit, it kept changing colors we basically spent 20 minutes there snapping away haha.
My fave part would be the touch pool though. They did mention something about sand sharks and stingrays but the sharks are not for touching, just viewing. However you are able to touch the rays, and there's four huge ones. Each a different species. Some felt smooth, some was rough but all equally playful, TOO CUTE! :3
We had an awesome breakfast inroom the next day cause I was just to lazy to get out of the room.
Maybe cause the weather was a bit gloomy the whole time we were there, bed just felt so good.
We spent this day hiring a driver to drive us around out of the city, a day trip of sight seeing basically.
More beautiful churches with beautiful stained glass windows.
This is the Bamboo Organ Church.
Famous for it's huge organ that is made out of bamboo. But throughout the years it was restored and is still being maintained and upkeep by the people who takes care of the church.
We popped by a factory or a workshop where they pimp out or so I call it; trucks/vans, which is one mode of transportation for the people living in Manila to get to work and places.
They were definitely cute and colourful!
Next stop, the main attraction, Taal Volcano.
This place was GORGEOUSSSSS!
At first we had to walk up a hill, well you can wait for the shuttle to take you up but what the heck, after all the eating and sleeping I think I needed the walk. Which was great as along the way up there were beautiful views of the countryside all around.
And we eventually reached the view point (not in pic), but we explored the empty building next to it, which happens to be one of Manila's ex president or something, well he was involved in some scandal and stripped off his title and exiled somewhere, sorry I couldn't really remember as Erin and I was in awe of the view we just kept making our way up this old building that was half done. Becareful though as there's nails and rusty rods popping out from the floor.
But damnnn, look at that view. We were at the highest point. Facing Taal Volcano which is in the middle of that lake (on Erin's left).
It was definitely windy as hell and you have no idea how many shots we had to take just to get a perfect picture cause most of it ended up looking like this :
Then we made our way back down the hill while stopping by certain spots.
If you follow me on Snapchat/Insta Stories you would've seen the hilarious snaps of me and Erin getting blown by the wind and trying our best to read the inscription on the plates etc.
Then we went for lunch at a beautiful restaurant nearby which was also facing the lake. Queue is definitely long but we didn't wait as long as we thought we had to. There's actually plenty of restaurants as you leave the mountain top, so there's a lot to choose from. You can ask your hired driver to suggest one for you depending on what cuisine you'd prefer etc.
Love how there's an old colonial feel to this restaurant, which gives a very westernised atmosphere when dining here.
I don't mind filipino food but after a few days it did get a bit overwhelming for me as it was mostly or done the same. Grilled. It does taste good, don't get me wrong but I wish I did more research but as my past trips to the Philippines, even in Cebu and Oslob, most of the 'famous' delicacies are grilled stuff.
Even the fish :(
However I was stuffed and so full I slept the whole way back into the city, went to a nearby mall, had some drinks and dinner and it was back to the hotel to pack as we had a flight to catch the next day.
Aerial view of Taal Volcano from the plane!
It is really very gorgeous, just that I wasn't using the right lens when I was taking this pic and the window was pretty foggy.
Overall it was a really relaxing, enjoyable trip.
I would definitely come back to Manila and stay in the middle of the city the next time!
Till then, x.