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Monday, March 21, 2011

Earthquake: Have You Felt It?

An intensity of 3 hits southern part of Metro Manila this late in the evening.  I was in Makati, about to leave the office, at the time when I heard the news about that earthquake.

According to the news, a magnitude of 5.8 was recorded in southwest Manila at around 6:27 pm.  I learned about the earthquake when my friend's husband called her and informed her that there was an earthquake in their area.  The earthquake lasted for about a minute, he says.  Then later, it was already in the news.

Intensity 4 was felt in Manila, Marikina, Talisay, Batangas and Tagaytay.  Intensity 3 was felt in Quezon City, Alabang, Makati, Taguig, Malabon, Bacoor, Cavite; Lubang Island, San Jose, Mindoro Occidental, Abra de Ilog and Calapan, Mindoro Occidental.  Finally, intensity 2 was felt in Lucban, Quezon; Plaridel, Bulacan; Cabanatuan CityNueva Ecija and Baguio City.

Even if there was a report of intensity 3 in Makati, I didn't felt it.  Maybe because its not that strong.

With all these natural disasters, you can't help but panic and be worried about it.  I also heard that there was an earthquake felt, about the same magnitude, yesterday somewhere in La Union and Bulacan.   2 days in a row that the Philippines experience this.  I kept thinking anybody can get caught off guard once the earth shakes.  It's summertime, vacation time.  What if people were having their vacation on the beach and the earth will shake again?  The thought of tsunami scares me.  I'm having second thoughts of planning my next trip on the beach :(   I guess all we need is prayer.

*You may read about the news on earthquake felt today here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Concerts / Foreign Performers

What have I been doing?! I'm already missing concerts! I missed out the concerts of Stone Temple Pilots, Chippendales (haha!), Yellowcard, Anberlin and Far East Movement.  And now, I think I won't be able to catch the concerts of Bruno Mars (April 8), The Script (April 16), Switchfoot (April 30) and Maroon 5 (May 23).

I'm not a big fan of Bruno Mars but I like some of his songs.  So missing this out will not be too painful for me.  For The Script, I'd like to hear them play live but unfortunately I might have an out of town trip by that time.  I still can't decide.  I might ran out of tickets for this.  For Switchfoot, I think this will be their 3rd visit to the country and I'm gonna miss it again! Well, I'm not yet so sure but Phil. Sports Arena is way to far (and inconvenient) for me.  Maroon 5... At first I thought I can miss their concert this time since I was able to hear them last time they were here.  But on second thought, I wanna see Adam Levine up close and personal!  But the ticket might be sky rocket high again.  I remember their last concert here, ticket prices was as high as 10k.  I think I wouldn't spend that much just to see them.  And also, I don't like the venue for their concert this time.  I read somewhere that only VIP and Gold ticket holders have seats, correct me if I'm wrong.

 Sigh.  Expensive.  Oh well.

Maybe I'll just check out Cirque De Soleil instead?  I heard they're amazing performers.  But I'm sure its also expensive.  They'll be here sometime end June to July.

Care to join me in any of these concerts? :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Matilda and Ella: A message to my friends

Two of my closest friends are bound to leave the country anytime this year.  Well both are not yet sure as there are still documents/papers to be processed but its definitely a plan that they will leave the country.

Matilda and Ella while I am Kaye.  You will know why, later.  We are so called the Chuwariwaps.  They're just jealous. Haha!

I met them about 3-4 years ago and we've become friends ever since.  Matilda is nearer to me as I get to see her more often.  But my connection to Ella never ends.  We still talk, chat and text once in a while.  And ever since I met Ella, I felt like I've already know her.  I am always updated to their lives and we've been through some ups and downs.  I've seen them cry, laugh, mad, pikon, do crazy stuff, fell in love, etc. etc.  I have shared different passion for each of them thats why I enjoyed their company a lot.  When we talk, expect a never ending story.  There's always a story to tell, specially with Matilda even if we see often.  As with Ella, we don't talk much but when we do, it will still be like the good old times.  We each bonded a lot although it is seldom now that the three of us get together.

And I don't think that it will ever happen now.  Both friends will leave me here, in the Philippines, alone.  I understand their plans and I support them.  I am happy for them.  We need to grow.  We have separate lives.  It's just that I'm gonna miss them so much. The bonding we've made, the laughter we've shared, the secrets we've told.  I know parting ways does not mean our friendship will end.  I just hope that we will still keep and forever be in touch.  I love you my friends!

Oh, by the way.  We got our names: Matilda, Ella and Kaye, because of these (respectively): Maldita, Bratinella and Sho-Kaye :)  Among the 3, I'm the kindest of all!

Taipei Trip Day 1

At about a month ago, Feb 13 in the evening, we were still wandering around Taipei 101 mall and maybe looking for something to eat.  We no longer went up to 88th or 89th floor of the building to get a spectacular view of Taipei since it was rainy at that time and the view from the top is foggy, according to the receptionist.  And so we decided to just hang around Taipei 101 and do some shopping.  Besides, it would be a waste of NT$450 if you will not get to see anything.

Yes, I was in Taiwan last month from Feb 12-16.  I celebrated Valentine's Day with my single girlfriends in Taiwan.  Its not really 5 days since the flight was evening of Feb. 12 and we are expected to arrive at Taiwan at 12am of Feb. 13.  Then our flight back was also evening of Feb. 15 and we are expected to arrive in Manila at 3am of Feb. 16.  This is my first trip for this year.  It is also my first International trip.

Upon arriving in Taipei International Airport, I can already feel that I was in another country. The weather is really cold.  Colder than what I used to when inside an air conditioned room.  I love it.  We were fetch by the van contacted by my friend.  He welcomes us as we aboard his van.  The van was high tech with GPS attached!  It was talking and informing the driver where it is headed.  Well I'm not so sure as the language is Chinese.  My friends had a little chat with the driver as they know some Chinese (both Mandarin and Fookien).  From the airport, it was about 45minutes drive to where we will be staying, King Shi Hotel at Ximending District, the fashion district of Taipei.

 Standard Room at King Shi Hotel

Our driver got a quite hard time in finding our hotel.  Well I wouldn't be surprised since our hotel does not look like a hotel at all.  The hotel only occupies 7th and 8th floor of the building.  The other floors are for other businesses.  We availed 2 standard rooms since we are 5.  I payed at around Php 4,000 for 3 days 3 nights stay to my friend, she did all the bookings for us.  Sorry I can't recall the exact room charge per night :)

Our itinerary for today is Maokong Gondola, Sun Yat Sen and Taipei 101.  Fist destination is the Maokong Gondola.  We need to ride the MRT from Ximen (Tucheng, Banqiao and Nangang Line or simply blue line) to Taipei Zoo (Wenhu or brown line).  We will be transferring trains from Zhongxiao Fuxing on our way to Taipei Zoo.  Their MRT is very high tech.   All are connected so you can reach your destination easily.  We opted to buy chips rather than a card pass.  It is more cheaper.  MRT rates are about NT$25 on the average but it is still dependent on your destination.  Buying chips is quite easy as there are instructions indicated.  Another thing that amazes me is how disciplined their people are.  There are designated waiting line which people strictly follows.  They waited for passengers to come out from MRT before going in. 

Travel time from Ximen to Taipei Zoo is around 30 minutes.  From the MRT, we have to walk about 300 meters to get to Maokong Gondola.  There are paw prints in the sidewalk with some Chinese characters written on it.  Walking down the streets, you can also smell that you are indeed in Taipei Zoo, if you know what I mean :)

Maokong Gondola has 4 stations: Taipei Zoo StationTaipei Zoo South Station, Zhinan Temple Station and Maokong Station.  We skipped the first 3 stations and headed straight to Maokong Station.  It took us about 30 minutes or more. 

From the Maokong Station, there are a lot of tourist spots to be visited.  We just picked out a few.  There is also an information center where you can ask the distance from one point to another.  Bus service are also provided with a fee.  Since we're on a budget, we just walk.  But later we realized, we wished we rode the bus... we wasted some time walking :(  We were there from about 10AM to 5PM.  We ate at 2 different tea houses, visited some temples, went to the tea plantation, walk, walk and walk.  Its very tiring.  But we did enjoy our tea and street food! Yum!  Maokong area has also become real cold when it started to rain.

Of course we tasted their tea. Authentic!
This is very yummy with real fresh fruits!

Big serving of noodles from food court of Taipei 101. I ordered this via turo-turo language

Since we spent the whole day at Maokong Station, we skipped Sun Yat Sen as it closes at around 5PM.  We decided to visit it on our last day.  We went straight to Taipei 101 from our Maokong Gondola trip. We rode again MRT from Taipei Zoo (Wenhu line) to Taipei City Hall (Tucheng, Banqiao, Nangang line).

As mentioned earlier, we no longer went up to see the city skyline of Taipei as it was raining and even the receptionist informed us that there is low visibility of the city due to the fog.  Yes, it was still cold at that time.  The rain added coldness to the city.

So this is how my first day in Taipei went.  Tiring but enjoyable.  I really enjoyed the food and the weather!

Here's my post for Day 2 and Day 3.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Free Boracay Vacation!

It's summer time! Isn't it wonderful to spend your summer at the beach? Where else but in the white, powdery sands of Boracay, the Philippines' number 1 beach destination!  What's best, you can get your Boracay vacation for free!  Yes, you heard it right.  IT IS FREE!  Read on to know the details.

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