Plan Ahead: We have 9 Long Weekends in 2019

Plan ahead for your 2019 vacation and travels.  Malacañang Palace has released the official list of Philippine holidays next year.
If you are a traveholic who loves to plot your future getaways your calendars this early, book cheap flights, scout for cool places, you’ll find this list helpful.  
We have nine long weekends in 2019. This list covers holidays that fall on a Monday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday (with one vacation leave in between), thus making a long weekend. 
  1. December 29, 2018 to January 1, 2019 (Rizal Day and New Year)
  2. February 2 to 5, 2019 (Chinese New Year Celebration)
  3. February 23 to 25, 2019 (EDSA Anniversary)
  4. April 6 to 9, 2019 (Araw ng Kagitingan)
  5. April 18 to 21, 2019 (Holy Week)
  6. August 24 to 26, 2019 (National Heroes’ Day)
  7. November 1 to 3, 2019 (All Saints/Souls’ Day)
  8. December 21 to 25, 2019 (Christmas)
  9. December 28, 2019 to January 1, 2020 (Rizal Day and New Year)

Eight Long Weekends in 2018

We only have three work days here in PH this week because of the 2 consecutive long weekends. Most of us used this opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones or for those who prefer being productive engaged in small home improvement and organizing or DIY projects.  
Last Monday, my family visited my FIL’s grave in Heritage Park Taguig to remember his 87th birth anniversary.  Then, we had (late) lunch at Buddy’s Restaurant in Venice Piazza Mall.  
I am happy to announce that the long weekends next year is already circulating online. Here it is, folks! You can schedule and save for your travels in 2018.  How cool is that?! 
Happy hump day everyone! 

5 Lessons Learned in my Solo Trip to Bangkok

Travel Diaries 3: PART 2 OF 2

In the first part of this Travel Diaries episode, I talked about the workshop I attended during my first solo trip abroad. This time, please allow me to share my experiences as I toured around the City of Bangkok all by myself. I took the chance to see some of the most-visited attractions in the City during my free time, the day before my flight back home.  It was an amazing experience and I learned so much from this trip.

I stayed at the Nouvo City Hotel for 4 days.  I am so happy about my choice. I am very satisfied with the services and amenities of Nouvo City Hotel PLUS it is located not only near to the conference venue but also to a number of Bangkok City’s attractions. Nouvo City Hotel is a boutique hotel in old City Bangkok (known as Banglamphu) near Khao San Road.

I left Manila (NAIA) last November 29 at 2:50pm and arrived in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand’s main international airport at 5:45pm.  I stayed at the airport for about an hour upon arrival for few reasons – currency exchange, phone charging, and just sat down at the airport lobby getting the hang of the Thailand atmosphere hehe .  I arrived at the hotel past 7 in the evening.

my room…

After a jamp-packed schedule on the first day, I went to Sathorn Road to attend Worship Services at the Iglesia Ni Cristo place of worship.  I walked for a while and grabbed something to eat for dinner in of the street food stalls along the way. I rode a taxi going back to my hotel.

selfie before reviewing introductory notes early in the morning – Day 1 of the workshop

ready, set…

…go! first breakfast at the hotel’s Canal Restaurant – stir-fried noodles, chicken sausages, egg, rice

Day 2 breakfast – cinnamon bread, salad and fruits. I also had tomato soup and buttered toast.


One-Day Bangkok City Tour 

Now, lemme show you some bits and pieces of what happened during my one-day city tour. On December 2, I woke up early, dress up in my most comfortable outfit, and ate breakfast at the hotel. Armed with a small map from the hotel, I went to the first destination – The Grand Palace. Unfortunately. the Palace was closed at that time for mourners and tourists for a merit-making ceremony to mark the 50th day of the passing of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej 

a peak of the Grand Palace

Next in my itinerary was Wat Pho, also known at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is located right behind the Grand Palace.  Entrance fee was 100 THB with free bottle water 🙂

another selfie 😀 on the way to Wat Pho
I bought one of those sweet mangoes for 20 THB for a refreshing snack before entering the temple
the Reclining Buddha
Thai noodles for lunch 
That’s my lunch in a small food stall in front of Wat Pho. While eating, I overheard kababayans talking. So, I approached them and we had a chit-chat for a while. The older woman asked me if I am a teacher in Thailand, too. She said she’s a teacher there and the cute young boy with them is her son, while the younger lady is her niece who is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 
After that, I walked and walked and walked until my legs hurt. 
More photos after the jump! 

Tangtrongchit Commercial Technological College
Pak Khlong Market (Flower Market)
I also dropped by Phahurat Market and bought few more souvenir items. Bangkok City really offers a wide array of street markets and shopping centers. I went to Platinum Fashion Mall, Indra Market, and Pratunam Market after our workshop last December 1. No photos since I was busy haggling shopping hahaha
By the time I no longer tolerate my aching feet and legs, I rode a tuk-tuk going back to my hotel. That was around 2 in the afternoon. Too early to proceed to Khao San Road. So I took a nap, woke up at 5:30 and then head off to Khao San Road where I ate Pad Thai and chicken BBQ.

a generous serving of Pad Thai for dinner , loved it!

in my background – tourists, backpackers

row of street markets at Khao San Road

Day 4: At the Suvarnabhumi Airport

5 lessons learned from this trip:

  1. When travelling for the first time, always research in advance – reviews and tips are all over the Internet in this modern day and age, anyway 
  2. Learn few phrases and greetings in the local language of the place you are visiting. I was not able to do this beforehand. 
  3. Always be careful with your belongings. Be alert! Beware of pickpockets and scams.
  4. Secure a map to help navigate the place easier. I avoided asking questions, I just refer to the map. But I forgot to secure a public transportation map at the airport. I should have saved few bucks I was able to know how to take the train or bus, rather than taking taxis and tuk-tuk.
  5. Try local food, and buy local goods. 
Should I go back to Thailand? Definitely, YES! with my family. 

Travel Diaries 3: Attended a Workshop at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand

PART 1 OF 2 

I went to Bangkok last week to participate in a two-day workshop at the UN Conference Center.  This is one of the greatest opportunities as far as my career in the government is concerned.  The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) sponsored my round-trip airfare, other travel fees, and daily subsistence allowance (DSA).  I was one of the seven (7) representatives from the Philippines.  Other participants came from the cities of Muntinlupa, Sta. Rosa (Laguna), and Naga. 

The Workshop on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asian and Pacific Cities was conducted on November 30 to December 1, 2016.  The workshop which gathered government officials and other representatives from various cities across the region, highlighted dialogues for collaborative action and knowledge sharing towards a localized implementation of the 2030 agenda.
The 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.  It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.  We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimension, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda.  They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what the local government did not achieve. Source:
The Urban SDG Knowledge Platform, a web-based online platform with the aim to promote and support regional knowledge sharing and cooperation for sustainable development, was officially launched during the Workshop. 

Event Photos:

Panelists for the Introductory Session (Session 1 of 7)

“Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities” – Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Delegates from the Philippines
Panelists during the Special Lunch Event for Workshop participants – “From Planning to Practice: Urban Nexus as a means of Implementing the 2030 Agenda” 
Thank you, City Government of Makati, and UN ESCAP for this amazing experience.  I found the workshop helpful in carrying out my duties and responsibilities as an employee. By the way, I had the chance to visit some of Bangkok most-visited sites the day before my flight. More of that in a separate blog post. 

Travel Diaries 2: Temple of Leah

The Temple of Leah which is located in Busay, Cebu City is gaining popularity as one of the most visited places in the City.  The seven-storey mansion turned museum sits on top of a mountain.  This huge structure of Roman architecture is built by Teodorico Adarna in 2012. The temple symbolizes his undying love for his late wife Leah V. Albino – Adarna. By the way, he is the granfather of actress Ellen Adarna.
Since it was drizzling during our visit, we were not able to go around museum. Nevertheless, we had the chance to take quite a number of Instagram-worthy photos. Yes, you read it right! Temple of Leah is perfect for photo shoots.
with my mom-in-law, Can you guess how old is she? 

Thea in front of  a nine-foot statue dedicated to Leah V. Albino-Adarna. The marker indicates the Leah was a Matron Queen of her Alma Mater University of Southern Philippines. 
More selfies 🙂 
Yohan , Cebu as the backdrop 🙂

notice the brass angel details in the grand staircase? 
I love this picture!!! 
Temple of Leah is located at Roosevelt St., Busay, Cebu City. Entrance fee is Php50.00. For more information about, visit their Facebook Page

Travel Diaries 1: Zaballa Clan Invades Cebu

Flashback March 2016, while having our usual Saturday siesta time, one of my sisters-in-law texted me asking if we want to go to Cebu. Apparently, they are booking us, together with other family members, for a four-day vacation in Cebu on October 12 to 15. The husband and I discussed it for a while and then I replied to my SIL, agreed to her offer. 
October 12, 2016, we woke up early despite of having just few hours of sleep – because of packing and excitement.  Our flight to Cebu was 7 in the morning. Originally, we are 27 but only 24 of us make it to the final date.  Three college students, including my niece, failed to go with us due to their scheduled final examinations 🙁  
wacky shots while waiting for our boarding time

It was Thea and Yohan’s first plane ride.  Imagine how excited they were.  One time, I caught them talking:
Yohan:  Ate, ate, lapit na tayo ride ng airplane. Di ba pupunta tayo sa Cebu?
Thea: Yes, Yohan. Excited ka na ba,beh? ‘Wag kang malikot sa loob ng airplane ha, baka mahulog ka! 

True enough, the little boy was quite afraid during the flight (going to Cebu).  Pagtingin nya sa bintana, nakita nya dagat! sabi nya “Mama, baka mahulog tayo!” To kill boredom and to feel at ease, he asked for a paper and pen and doodled while in flight. Thea seated beside Papa while Yohan seated beside me during both flights. 
Touchdown Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Here’s what happened during our four-day Cebu vacation:
Day 1
  • Arrival and  check-in at Verbena Pension House, Don Gil Garcia St., Cebu City (our home away from home during the entire in the City of Smiles)
  • Lunch at the Foodcourt in Robinson’s Mall
  • Attended Worship Services (Iglesia Ni Cristo, Lokal ng Cebu City)
Day 1 Photos 

Day 2

  • Long drive (4-5 hours) to Oslob. We wanted to see the whale sharks. Unfortunately, we arrived past 12 noon. According to the locals and resort owner, the whale sharks are only visible between 6 -11 am. Sayang! Para masulit ang entrance fee sa resort, we ate out lunch there and the kids and some adults swam for a bit. 
  • Explored Aguinid Falls. Only eight (8) of us braved the slippery and challenging way to the top of the falls. 
Day 2 Snapshots
Oslob, Cebu
Aguinid Falls

Day 3

We woke up and left our hotel early on our third day. It was the most hectic day! We had a City Tour and arrived home late, tired but happy. 
  • Temple of Leah (Cebu Transcentral Highway, Cebu City). More about this in my next post. 
  • Philippine Taoist Temple 
  • Lunch at Conching’s Native Chicken
  • Mactan Shrine
  • Ocular/ Tour at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa (Barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu)
  • Taboan Public Market (for pasalubong shopping) 
  • Dinner at Abuhan Pochero (F. Ramos St., Cebu City)
Day 3 Pictures

Day 4
  •  Breakfast at the hotel
  • Packed our things and went to the airport for our flight going back to reality Manila 🙂
us @Mactan Airport

photo credits: C.N. Z. Mongcal, R. Panoga, L. Glase

It was indeed a memorable travel. We are looking forward for our next destination. 

Go Hotels Manila Airport Road is Now Open!!!

Hello! Here is a good news for travelers looking for an affordable place to stay. 
Go Hotels announces the opening of its newly-opened branch in Manila Airport Road. It is located at 608 Quirino Avenue, Barangay Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines. 
Go Hotels offers affordable without sacrificing quality service and accommodation.  Being an essential service hotel, Go Hotels lets you pay only for the basic things you need when staying in a hotel.  Other services can be availed through add-ons, ensuring a complete and convenient travel experience.  
For inquiries, you may contact the following numbers:
+632922-GO HOTEL (4646835)
(02) 818-8080