Travel Diaries: Ciao Venezia!

Another travel post from one of our stops during the ACGC 2012 European tour — the picturesque Venezia!

We were here from April 25-27, coming from Koper, Slovenia. We only had two days to explore and breathe in the air of the “Floating City.” Venice was a powerful city during Middle Ages and Renaissance, as it was the place known for art and commerce. Its command of the water made it a force to be reckoned with during those times. Today, millions of people travel to the city a year, and Fr. Luigi, our host during our stay, told us that the city has more tourists than locals! It’s also famous for its glass-work in Murano, housing different glass factories, the Carnival of Venice using the popular Venetian masks, and of course the gondolas and its use of water transportation!

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We had to take this short train ride from the bus station to go to Venice. I thought it meant going straight to the heart of Venice but I was so very wrong..

Continue reading Travel Diaries: Ciao Venezia!

Travel Diaries: Spring in Montreux, Switzerland

Back in 2011, the ACGC competed at the 47th Montreux Choral Competition. This was towards the end of April and it was our second competition (our first was in Maribor, Slovenia for the 11th International Choral Competition where we won 2nd place!). We were on an 81-day concert-competition tour and Day 26 to 30 was spent in lovely Montreux.

This is one of the most memorable stops for me in our 2011 tour because we lived in a bunker that used to be an underground bomb shelter. It was also when we actually had to cook our own meals and clean the place where we stayed. Unlike in our other stops, we had hosts that helped us or we stayed in a hotel. We were put into 3 groups that had a rotation of chores: cleaning the kitchen (including all the kitchenware and dishes), cleaning the bathroom, and cleaning the rooms. We also had our cooking club, which was in charge of cooking all 3 meals per day plus our snacks, especially when we went to the other towns during our stay. We were 37 people that time, so you can just imagine the mess and the clean up we all had to do!

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The only entrance and exit of our bunker. Yup, there was only one key so anyone who left had to tell Will or Irvs that they were leaving or else no one will know that someone’s locked out!

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Travel Diaries: Hong Kong Pt. 4

Since we had a very busy and tiring day in Disneyland, we all slept in except for Dom. Haha! All of us woke up at around 10AM and leisurely took our time getting ready. We planned on going to Lantau Island that day but Miggi, Yorro, Dom and Liz wanted to shop while Gorby and I wanted to finish the itinerary we made for Day 1. So we decided to make it a free day and off Gorby and I went to Hau Wong Temple, Kowloon Walled City Park and Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin before our 5:30PM meet up back to the hotel.

We went to our first stop, Hau Wong Temple.

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Continue reading Travel Diaries: Hong Kong Pt. 4

Travel Diaries: The Happiest Place on Earth (HK Pt. 3)

Everyone knows that the happiest place on Earth is none other than Disneyland!! The last time I was in Disneyland was in Paris back in 2011 and to be honest, it was boring. It needed renovation, too many people (we went end of May) and I felt like the €59 I paid wasn’t worth it at all. It might probably be because the last time I went to Disneyland before Paris was back in 2001 in Disneyworld, Florida and that’s, of course, something else. But anyway, if Disneyland Paris was just an amusement park for me, Disneyland HK really brought me back to my kiddie self 🙂

We woke up to a cloudy day and when we were ready to leave, it started to rain! Good thing it didn’t last long and off we went to have a heavy brunch at 10:30AM before going to Disneyland. We ate at Toast Box and I had no idea they had branches here in the Philippines already. There I was enjoying Singaporean cuisine and wishing there was a branch back in Manila. Haha!

*HK Part 1 here and Part 2 here 🙂

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Continue reading Travel Diaries: The Happiest Place on Earth (HK Pt. 3)

Travel Diaries: Day trip to Macau (HK Pt. 2)

For our second day in Hong Kong (first day here and third day here), we decided to go to Macau which was an hour away by ferry. When I was planning our itinerary, I couldn’t find a direct link to any information about Macau’s public transport and decided to just jot down the places we should go to. Bad idea. I should’ve planed out our route to the minute detail as we were so lost by the time our ferry stopped at the port. Thankfully the signs were all in Portuguese, which is somewhat near Spanish and that Liz took basic Portuguese in college that it wasn’t too hard to learn where to go. Macau also had wifi everywhere and with the help of mobile maps and the actual map (c/o Dom), we were able to navigate through Macau.

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Continue reading Travel Diaries: Day trip to Macau (HK Pt. 2)

Travel Diaries: Hong Kong Pt. 1

I went to Hong Kong from April 3-7 as my graduation celebration with my ACGC batchmates: Gorby, Miggi, Yorro, Dom and Liz. Luigi was supposed to come but a week before we were supposed to leave, his mom surprised him and his family tickets to Japan, exactly the same time as HK.

We’ve been planning this trip since first semester, around July, bought the tickets around September (for cheaper fare!) and started saving up for the trip ahead. My parents were okay with me going away with my friends but I had to pay for everything. It wasn’t easy but I helped my mom find contacts for insurance, saved my allowance (no matter how little) and grad money and I was good to go!

Our flight was at 7:20AM, April 3, in Clark, Pampanga (DMIA), and so we all decided to meet up at Gorby’s place the night before. We took the bus from the Trinoma Airport Lounge, which has bus trips that directly travel to the airport. Since we weren’t able to book the bus tickets earlier (long story short, although their service was very convenient, they have a very unreliable staff that all answered differently. I was told to contact them a week in advance to the start of April until we were eventually told that they don’t accept reservations. WHUT), we were advised to go there as early as possible so Miggi fetched us at Gorby’s house around 1AM. We waited until the bus arrived at 3:15 (we played 94s to pass time) and we arrived DMIA around 4:30.

The last time I took a flight out of the country from DMIA was in 2010 when my family and I went to Singapore. Sadly, nothing changed — no improvements whatsoever. It was such a busy airport that early in the morning that I really wish the government would pay more attention to it so that it can be improved.

*My phone broke on our third day in HK and when I tried to have it fixed when I got back, I was told that my files have been deleted. Photos from Liz and Dom

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At the “boarding gate”. It looked like a make-shift gate. You wouldn’t even know that it was the gate because it was right beside where the food stalls were and the washrooms. But nothing can bring us down, not even lack of sleep!!

Continue reading Travel Diaries: Hong Kong Pt. 1

#ADMU2013

I already wrote about my Ateneo experience here, so I won’t be writing about the mushy and emotional stuff anymore. Photo-heavy post now!

March 22, 2013
Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Address by Cardinal Tagle
SOH-SOSS Graduation

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Of course we had to take a picture with our Th131 prof (all in one class and one group! Except for Miggi :P) and our dear ACGC moderator, Fr. Dacanay, SJ.

Continue reading #ADMU2013