Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Go Summer Trips

It has now become a tradition that I shall accompany Go Family in this overseas tours. This year alone, when summer break kicked in when the school kids were free to go anywhere, I have shared two major, week-long yours with them: one in Hong Kong on April 27-May 1 and another in Bangkok on May 23-28.

Booked at Marco Polo Hotel at Harbour City, we stayed close to Victoria Harbour, Avenue of the Stars, and Tsim Sha Tsui Shopping Centers

The happiest place on earth could never be missed, Hong Kong Disneyland was the first stop

A glamorous birthday celebration for Shiloh to hold it outside the Philippines, no less the Chinese district appropriate for her family name Go!

Few years ago, the couple Jun and Ruth tugged along 2 boys, now they have 4: Marti, Tristan, Josh and Shiloh

The large family included Rose and Diane, sibling and cousin of Ruth, respectively

Roaming around the park, everybody in tow

The boys with the chaperones, Diane and Rose

One full day in this place, where adventures and fantasies are squeezed together, is always never enough. From my last visit in 2012, there has been several new additions to the park, such as the Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and some sections of Tomorrowland for Marvel and Star Wars. One particular event that I enjoyed this time was the Disney Paint the Night Parade where neon-light floats and Disney costumes are shining through the night right before the closing fireworks.

One more happy place in Hong Kong that cannot be missed is the Ocean Park

Spending the whole day in the park is also not enough to experience the whole of its fun rides, activities, and amenities

The rest of the days were spent in swimming for the kids and shopping for the adults

I was fortunate that there was suspension of work on April 27 and 28, due to ASEAN Summit, that I need not file a vacation leave for this trip to Hong Kong.

Then another tour happened for the Go Family to Bangkok on May 23-28. Jun's aunts and uncle joined them here and so I met Auntie China, her husband Uncle Ronie, and their colleague Ian. I knew very well, Auntie Myrna, who I shared with in some of my overseas trips.

Queuing for check in, immigration clearance, and boarding at NAIA Terminal 2

Picture-taking upon arrival at Bangkok International Airport

A rich accommodation at Marriot Executive Apartments in Mayfair Bangkok

Enjoying one of the buffet breakfasts

All set for the first day of adventure to experience Thailand

Jetting around the Damnoen Floating Market

Lunch at the floating market

The water taxis

An interesting European theme park

Witnessing tricks and exhibition in the Crocodile Farm and Theater

The elephant ride

Photo op with elephants

Tour around River Kwai

Theme park day at Dream World

One of the fun rides in Dream World

A humid afternoon in Ayutthaya Historical Park

Go for Bangkok's ancient temples

A day in Pattaya's Nong Nooch Garden

Witnessing tricks and exhibitions by Elephants

A night of Tiffany's performance with ladyboys

Even just a photo op with Tuk tuk is already a tick off the bucket list

It was a solid one-week tour of Bangkok and nearby cities to experience authentic Thailand in the eyes of foreigners like us.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

BTMS Out of Town Reunion

The travel bug bit me again when I started to settled in the BTMS Project. I never thought my younger colleagues also have the  same travel bug I felt waiting to be awakened. So our fotmer QA team member, Francis Olivarez, organized an island hopping trip to Isla Verde in Batangas City.

Stopover for dinner at San Pedro Foodstop

The Slumber Party

This was definitely the first for BTMS team, involving reps from the Joint Venture, FreeBalance and Globe-Innove, and the Government's Project Management counterpart. Six persons signed in, Luch, Alma, Aya, Bien, myself and Francis. We were joined by a friend of Alma, a friend of Aya, Francis' fiancee and sister.

The journey to Batangas started after the last hour at the office on Friday, March 24. Two cars were convoying, one of Francis and another of Luch. The ten of us squeezed in the vacation house of Francis' girlfriends' family to spend overnight. Before that slumber, we spend few hours at the rocky beach side of Brgy Ilijan playing the "bobo" (translation: brainless) game and drinking liquors in between.

Brgy Ilijan shoreline

"All aboard"

Isla Verde first stop: Rock formation

The islet is true to its monicker, Isla Verde, because it's all green and unspoiled piece of land. We started our hop at the other end where a parcel of clay coated rock shut up so close to the seawaters, and it's backdrop is the silhouette of Mindoro islands. The group spent a while snorkeling around the area, while I was busy taking my almost naked selfies.

Then we cruised the opposite end of the islet which is the best site for picnicking. The rock formations in this point of Isla Verde is impressive, picturesque, and so natural. Here we spent most of our time, grilling fish and meat for our lunch, observing locals doing their industry (collecting rock fishes for sale, catering to markets fond of maintaining aquariums), and taking more selfies of course.

Huge rock along the shoreline

Another huge rock in the middle of the beach

The nautical highway in between Isla Verde and Luzon mainland

Where the small community can be found
Isla Verde's fishing industry

After the sumptuous but late lunch, we headed back to the mainland. The tour did not end in Isla Verde, it continued on to jumping and diving at Ilijan Falls.

The falls is located in the remotest area of the barangay. Although the road is paved and some parts of the area are developed, we curious guests reached the peak where only brave and fit individuals could get. Since it was summertime, the fall was expected to be thin and safe for cliff diving or just mere jumping.

The BTMS had an enjoyable weekend... and proud to have discovered unique tour destinations in this side of Batangas City.