'I Will Always Have Paris' : On Finding Inspiration And Post-Vacation Blues

'I Will Always Have Paris' : On Finding Inspiration And Post-Vacation Blues

You need “boring days” to appreciate the “exciting days”. Bland food to enjoy the scrumptious. Lonely days to look forward to connection. A creative block to feel the surge of ideas—the high that comes with a light bulb moment.

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Fun Things to Do in Hong Kong: Biking at Cheung Chau Island!

Dad and I went to Hong Kong three weeks ago WITHOUT an itinerary in mind (I guess spontaneity runs in the genes, huh?), so I did what any other millennial would do in a time like this:

Post a Facebook status to ask for recommendations from friends!

My friend Jad suggested that we try biking at Cheung Chau Island, and so we did.

Cheung Chau 

is part of the Hong Kong Islands district. It is a quiet little fishing village where people could take a dip at the beach, eat at sea food restaurants, visit temples, and go around on rented bikes.

HOW TO GET THERE?

Dad and I took a train to

Central Station

. From there, we walked all the way to

PIER 5

in front of the

IFC Mall.

You could choose to take either the fast ferry (45 minute-ride) or the ordinary ferry (1 hr-ride).

We took the fast one and paid around 24 HK dollars for each of our ticket (that's around PHP 168).

All aboard!

The ferry was clean and air-conditioned. The seats were comfortable, too, which explains why I fell asleep on the way to the island. Lol.

Ferry schedules and rates

Getting to Cheung Chau was a breeze, but finding a place to rent bikes was another story.

Because most of the locals in the place did not speak English, looking for bike rental shops were quite a challenge for us. We walked around for a good 20 minutes, before we found a man who told us that there was one beside the bush of flowers at the right (well, he didn't really say it-- he

acted it out! In fairness!!)

Finally, we found one (about a 10-minute from the pier) at the left side of the island. I rented a bicycle for

10 HKD per hour 

( PHP 70), while dad got the tricycle for around

20 HKD per hour (

PHP 140).

We were also asked to pay a refundable free of

200 HKD 

(around PHP1,400) as security deposit.

I really wanted to eat at a cafe and check out the temple, but because we had other things to do to that day, we decided to only spend 1.5 hours on the island. We ended up biking to the beach, checking out quaint little shops,  meeting some locals, and taking lots and lots of photos!

We went inside this super cute doggie shop. Not only did it have beds and doggie clothes (ranging from costumes, to swimwear, and even formal attire!), but they also had cute, fluffy dogs lounging around and enjoying the air-conditioning. HUHU ADORABLE.

Of course,

someone

 squealed a little when we found this tiny ukulele store! The lady was kind enough to let me play a song with it.

What I love about Cheung Chau is the simplicity of the place. Everyone's so relaxed and the time, slow-paced. The beach was not what we could call majestic, but it was charming.

While enjoying the beach and the heat of the sun, a group of ladies approached us. I couldn't understand Chinese, and they couldn't speak English, so we were basically playing charades for a good 20 seconds before I realized that they wanted to take a photo with me! Haha! we took (a lot of) photos together, exchanged laughter, and shared a pretty fun moment together, too. True enough, laughter

is

the universal language, and f

riendship knows no barrier.

Dad and I also made another friend that day! Shirley studies at the States, but is spending her summer vacation at Hong Kong right now to help her grandma out with the shop! We bought ice candy and frozen pineapples from her. :)

Cheung Chau had me captivated. Before leaving the island, I badly wanted to bring something home with me as a remembrance.

On the way back to the ferry, we chanced upon this backpack in a quiet little stall, and bought it right away.

I fell in love with this island so hard, I'm definitely coming back the next time we fly to Hong Kong! Hopefully, we could spend the whole day to wander around even more, then. :)

Watch this 30-second video for a quick tour of the place!! :D

#thewandererwonders

Feel free to comment below or 

tweet

me if you have any questions! :)

xx,

Hershey

#TheWandererWonders: A Travel Guide to Tinipak River and Cave, Rizal!


Hey!

Have you been meaning to go to the TINIPAK RIVER and CAVE in Rizal? Here's a quick travel journal to help you plan ahead, then! :)




"Congrats guys, hindi tayo drawing today, ah."

I swear that statement was repeated over fifteen times that day. Two weeks ago, we (with my sorority sisters, Marga, Shane, and Bekai) finally went to Barangay Daraitan (Rizal) together, and true enough, yes, natuloy talaga lakad namin at hindi kami drawing.

The best part of it all? The trip was really affordable. There will be a complete breakdown of our expenses at the end of this post.




HOW TO GET TO TINIPAK RIVER,
BARANGAY DARAITAN VIA PUBLIC TRANSPORT

1. Van, EDSA Shaw Crossing to Tanay (PHP 70) (1.5 hours)
2. Tricycle to Barangay Daraitan (1 hour) (500 pesos/ 4pax)
3. Tricycle from Barangay Daraitan to River (15 minutes) (15 per person)


We met up at EDSA Starmall around 8:30AM, and we got to Tanay around 10:00 AM. When we arrived at the terminal, we went inside an office to register our names and to choose our tricycle.

(A group of trike drivers kept following us around afterwards, and I swear I laughed out loud when I said, "Wow first time kong maka experience nang pinag aagawan ng lalake!" Hahahahaha).

Eventually, we chose one guy who offered us a ride to Barangay Daraitan for only 400 pesos.

It took us an hour to get there, and since the ride was long and the road rocky, we decided to pay our guy PHP 500 instead.


At 11:00 AM, we registered at the jump-off point and got ourselves a tour guide (aka Kuya Oliver)! Kuya Oliver was an awesome guy. He was really patient with us and he was the one who took all of our amazing photos. Neat, huh?

Anyway, from here, you can also rent headlights. I DO INSIST that you do so if you plan to go inside the cave. You can rent one for only PHP 30.



Here are Barangay Daraitan's regulations for tourists:

PHP 20- Environmental fee (each person)
PHP 750- Tour Guide Fee for Night Trek (1AM to 4AM)
PHP 500- Tour Guide Free for Day Hike
PHP 1250- Tour Guide Fee (Over Night)
PHP 500- Photo Shoot (non-commercial, debut, pre-nup, hobbyists with mode and equipment)

(5) Five visitors= (1) one tour guide for mountain climbing activity
(10) Ten visitors= (1) one tour guide for river trekking and caving activity

Tanay Tourism Office:
0998 988 1590

*Prices may change without prior notice

TREK

We took a tricycle to get to the start off point (PHP 15 per person), and trekked for 1.5 hours to get to the cave.

The hike to the cave was relatively easy, but expect a lot of climbing and slippery rocks. (Bring lots of water cause you'll be walking long hours under the sun).



Nearing the end of the trek, we were asked to pay PHP 20 as registration. This is because there is an ongoing dispute between Daraitan and General Nakar on which side Tinipak really belonged to, thus, tourists are asked to pay separate fees.





TINIPAK CAVE

As mentioned earlier, you will be needing headlights to see inside the cave (nope, the light from your iPhone won't be powerful enough inside). It's very (very) slippery inside, so you have to be extra careful. The caving fee is PHP5.


It took us 40 minutes to get to the end of the cave, where you can swim and relax in a small and cold lagoon the locals call, "the jacuzzi".





TINIPAK RIVER

After caving, we trekked to the river to take a nice swim after a long, hot day.


The temperature of the water was just right. It was the perfect end to a tiring hike.


Lol. These pictures do not do the place justice; Tinipak River was absolutely breathtaking!!



We were lucky because we went there on a Thursday, which was why we were the only tourists in the place. Locals informed us that on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, Daraitan was often jam packed with so much people.


Tini-PAK, ganern.



After a delightful swim in the river, we trekked back and stopped in a sari-sari store along the way. There, we took a bath (we paid a shower fee of PHP 20), freshened up, and had merienda.




The trek back was just as beautiful! <3




Here's a breakdown of our expenses (food not included)

Van to Tanay- PHP 70
Tricycle to Barangay Daraitan- PHP 500 (100 per person)
Environmental fee for Barangay Daraitan- PHP 20
Headlights rental- PHP 30
Caving fee- PHP 5
Tricycle from Barangay Daraitan to river- PHP 15 per person
Registration fee for General Nakar- PHP 20
Tour Guide- PHP 500 (100 per person)
Shower fee- PHP 20
Tricycle from Barangay Daraitan to Tanay- PHP 500 (100 per person)
Van - PHP 70

Total expenses per person: PHP 550

Aaaand here's a quick video of the day's highlights: watch it HERE.

Do not be a stranger in your own country! Go ahead and explore the beauty Philippines has to offer. :) #thewandererwonders

Love,

Hershey

NYE 2014: Baguio Adventure, Floral on Florals, Fake Snow, and My Sorority Necklace :)







My family and I travelled all the way to Baguio for New Year's Eve. :)
We first went to EASTERN WEAVING, where we watched amazing women work on their looms and weave beautiful and intricate masterpieces.





They also had a store inside where they sold shoes, cloths, necklaces, bracelets, and all sorts of native stuff. My dad bought me and Ate Yas friendship bracelets for only 60 pesos each! :)


Then, we went to The Country Club to have a scrumptious lunch! :)


Right outside The Country Club was this big, fun children's activity ground where, apparently, (fake) snow fell.

We got out of the car and quickly ran up to the entrance where we were greeted by the lady guard who asked us "Ilan adults?" =)))) (yes, this was a children's place kasi HAHA)
I shyly and awkwardly replied "uhm... four."
HAHAHA














After playing around with snow to a winter wonderland-themed Christmas music playlist, we headed over to Sky Cafe and La Presa. It was quite a long ride going there. We literally were so up high, we were already above the clouds!










After that, we had a mini picnic in the woods of Camp John Hay. 
Here's a quick OOTD :)


Top: Forever 21
Bottom: Forever 21
Cardigan: Forever 21
Watch: Aldo
Boots: H&M
Socks: Forever 21



I just can't help but fall in love with my pretty sorority necklace! Proud Sigma Alpha Nuan right here. Hehe. :)





After our mini picnic, we went back to The Country Club to play with snow. Again. :P









And that was how we spend New Year's Eve :)

How did you guys spend the last day of 2014? Tell me all about it below! :)

xoxo,
The Teenage Queen














San Francisco #OOTD



I only have two things to say about San Francisco: 1) It is a freezer  and 2) It is a giant freakin freezer. 

Kidding aside (not really), I must admit that it's actually one of the most fashionable cities I've ever been to. We enjoyed observing what the locals wore everyday, and from what we've noticed, San Fran fashion is often a combination of top+shorts+leggings+coat, or dress+leggings+coat, or fashionable top+pants+scarf+ coat, or... You know what I mean. They're into layers. Layers and layers and layers.

Now, hold your horses there. I'm no expert when it comes to layering and all, since duh.. I live in a tropical country(!!!), but hey, I still did my best to "fit in" with the San Fran crowd. This was my take on San Francisco fashion:

Cropped top: H&M| Jacket: H&M| Shorts: Greenhills| Bag: Korean Brand

The idea was to create a palette of colors and stick to that, so the pieces won't clash and outdo each other.


What do you think? I really wanted to wear boots that time. However, I forgot my pair at home, so I was only stuck with 3 choices that time: my black flats, my sandals, and my heels--- and for the love of all things good, I opted not to walk around the city all day in heels. 
-------------------------------------------------




Say hello to 2/3 of the Neri sisters! lol This was what my sister wore that day. I loveee her pants! I'm planning to invest on a nice printed pair too. Anyone here who could suggest where to buy one?


.

.
.
.

So yeah. I'm on a writer's block right now, so whatever. I'm ending this post with a photo of the steepest and weirdest bridge we've ever laid our eyes upon. lol.



thanks for reading my blog, you guys!
talk to ya next time!

xoxo,
The Teenage Queen







Los Angeles #OOTD


Greetings from the gigantic freezer that is San Francisco! We're off somewhere in a few, but let me leave you  another outfit post before we leave.

This was what I wore to Los Angeles last week. We went to Getty Museum, a really cool and contemporary place so I thought I should wear something modern yet chill and laid back. If you've noticed, I've actually worn the same romper two months ago in this blog post. Yep ladies, it's not wrong to reuse/ wear the same item again and again (and again!!!). Doing so will actually let you exercise your creativity! Just style it differently each time, and you're good to go. Your options are unlimited when you mix and match! :)



Romper: Forever 21| Jacket: H&M| Shoes: Cotton On| Belt: Steve Madden| Bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction






After the Getty Museum, we also went to the famous Lacma Urban Lights to meet up with some friends. :)



Then we headed to The Grove. It's a chill hang out place, and near it is the Farmers Market- a hipster place that reminded me so much of the Philippines. It's a big venue with different food stalls that you can order food from, sort of like our food night bazaars. I'm going to blog about it next time, so stay tuned for that one!



Hey guys, I heard the storm's mad crazy there in the Philippines. Please do stay safe and dry over there, okay? Charge your phones, stock up on batteries, food, etc! Most importantly, pray. Love you all!

xoxo,
The Teenage Queen




New York: The City of Dreams #OOTD


No city has ever touched my heart like how New York touched mine. And, in the spirit of being cliche and all, let me add that I've also never been in love with a city until I met New York.  It was my first time to actually immerse myself in this beautiful place; our previous visits back when I was younger were only half a day long and usually, we'd just primarily go to the Statue of Liberty,  then visit Times Square for an hour, and then head home. 

But this year's visit was different. 

Our friend Lea, who's been living in NYC for a long time now, toured us around places we've never even been before. We watched a Broadway show. We walked (and walked and walked!!!) everywhere, rode subways, ate food New Yorkers ate, did more walking, and so much more.

Here, let me share you some pictures of our adventure:

A selfie with my main girl, Leighton Meester. Lol. We waited for her to exit Longacre theatre after her show, "Of Mice and Men". We also got a playbill signed by THE James Franco himself. Woot woot!



The original Shake Shack! Their burgers were okay, but their milk shakes were pure heaven! 


My Times Square OOTD!
Black top: Forever 21| Black shorts: Forever 21| Stockings: SM Dept Store| Shoes: Payless| Coat: Bayo| Bag: Michael Kors| Necklace: brand unknown





Times Square at day


... and at night!




On our second day, we walked the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It's a bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it's quite long, too, but we didn't mind--- in fact, crossing a bridge has never been this fun! The view was wonderful!
Romper: Forever 21| Scarf: borrowed from my sister| leggings: department store| Shoes: Payless

The view from above



Welcome to Brooklyn! 


We also ate at Grimaldi's , the first ever oven brick pizzeria in Brooklyn.  It was one of the B E S T pizzas we've ever had, I swear! When you plan to visit Brooklyn, make sure to add this to your to-do list, okay? It's located under the bridge so it's easy to find.

Watch out, though. Because we experienced intense racism here. The white guy at the entrance who was maintaining the line treated us so poorly, just because we're Asians, but he treated white people so well. He even said something disrespectful to my sister. My eldest sister, being the strong woman she is, got very upset, and fought back. She asked him to apologize to him, but he didn't. So of course, my sister approached the owner of the restaurant and told him about the incident. The owner apologized to us and also mentioned that he's actually been receiving lots of complaints about the guy over at the entrance. He got really mad at the guy and felt so sorry. Later that night, we read reviews about Grimaldi's and a lot of people had been complaining about that same racist, short-tempered guy, too! Sigh. We just hope they do something about that racist guy.

But anyway, haha, yes, the food in Grimaldi's is GREAT. PERFECT PIZZA.

We also got introduced to the BEST soda ever! Stewart's Orange n Cream soda tastes like soda topped with creamy ice cream! Ahhh it's perfect <3 Really hope to find this particular brand again. I'm on a search to find some so I can take them home with me! lol




Check out the elevator buttons! hehe.




I could just walk around this city all day..


Empire State <3




                   I'm ending this post with a promise to go back here one day. To be honest, I  really can't imagine myself settling down in another country, because I do love Manila so so much. But I just can't help it; I left my heart in New York, and that's why one day, I'm coming back.Not for good though-- just for a little while. For internship, or for studies, or maybe even for work. I'd like to pursue a career here, maybe in one of the top PR firms or so. One day. I know it's a big risk to take-- there will be competitions, racism, failures, and what nots along the way-- but I just have a strong gut that it's a risk worth taking. I just pray that an opportunity knocks on my door so that one day, I could finally check this off my bucket list. 

I've never felt so inspired and determined. Just writing all about my "dream city" gives me the chills. What about you? Have you found your "dream city"?:)



(If you have the time, you could watch the 15-second video I made, which is a recap of our stay in New York!)



xoxo,
The Teenage Queen