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Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Lunch at Uncle Cheffy

Like last year's Christmas, my mom and I just went out with our relatives for lunch. This time we went to Solenad, Nuvali. 

As expected, most restaurants were full except for Claw Daddy so we decided to give it a try. My aunt perused the menu and placed the order. A couple of minutes later, the waiter came back and told us that 4 of the items we ordered were not available. Kaya naman pala walang kumakain! Aba'y magsara na sila! So we left to look for other options. Good thing Uncle Cheffy is just a stone's throw away. 

Here's what my aunt ordered for us:
Uncle Cheffy Favorites Brick Oven Panizza
oven dried tomatoes, mushroom, garlic, anchovy, chili flakes, basil and 3 cheese

If you're not big on meat or vegetables, this panizza is the perfect balance.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

Lots of not so good things happened lately especially in CDO and Iligan :( so in order to lighten up (pun intended) the mood, I'm sharing these videos of Ayala Triangle Gardens' Symphony of Lights and Sounds.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Exploring Indochina: Down and Dirty in Cu Chi (Tunnels)

Excuse the title. I just couldn't resist. :p 

For our second day in Vietnam, we booked a half day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels.

The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. - from Wikipedia

Our tour guide for the day: Mr. Binh; half-Filipino, half-Vietnamese war veteran

Upon boarding the bus, we were given stickers with the letter 'B' on it to put on our shirts so that Mr. Binh would know that we are part of his group. The guy has lots of stories about the tunnels as well as personal experiences of the Vietnam War. He gets a bit emotional sometimes while recounting the past. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Exploring Indochina: Mekong Delta Tour (My Tho - Ben Tre)

We were supposed to join the Mekong Delta tour starting at 7:45 am but exhaustion got the best of us. Good thing Chanh was able to book us for the next pickup at 8:15 am. We learned that day that guides pick up tourists from the hotels before heading to the bus.

By 8:30 we were already aboard but we still picked up more tourists along the way. I think at about 9:00 am the bus was already full so our guide introduced himself.

IMG_2172  This is our guide, Zett. (I hope I got his name right)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exploring Indochina: Bich Duyen - Our Home in HCMC

In Ho Chi Minh City, the backpacker's area is located in Pham Ngu Lao, District 1. Here you'll find alleys dotted with hotels/guesthouses suited for the budget traveler. 

If you're on a budget but OC like me when it comes to accommodations, then head on to TripAdvisor for hotel/guesthouse reviews. Among the listed 268 hotels in HCMC, Bich Duyen ranks 5th with 438 reviews (the top 2 being five star hotels!) It is also highly recommended in forums. Ironically, they don't have a website so you can just contact them through email. The manager, Chanh, responds quickly and was very patient in answering my inquiries.  

Just through our exchange of emails, I was able to book a double room for 3 nights ($17 per night), arranged for airport pickup ($14), tours (Mekong Delta: My Tho - Ben Tre ($10/head) and Half day Cu Chi Tunnels tour ($6/head), as well as the Mekong Express bus we took from HCMC to Siem Reap, Cambodia ($22/head). They don't require a downpayment/reservation either and we just settled everything before we checked out.

facade of Bich Duyen

Around Asia 2011 by TripWow

Around Asia 2011 Slideshow: Kat’s trip from Hong Kong, China to 5 cities Bangkok, Siem Reap, Macau, My Tho and Cu Chi was created by TripAdvisor. See another China slideshow. Create a free slideshow with music from your travel photos.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Exploring Indochina: The Itinerary

We just got back from our recently concluded 9-day Indochina trip (Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand). 

For those who are planning to do the same, here's the itinerary we used:

What's in a Girl's Backpack?

image from Getty Images

I constantly read travel blogs and one surprising thing I found out was that even seasoned travelers find packing a daunting task. 

I, on the other hand, find it both stressful and enjoyable. After the planning phase is over, packing my stuff is one of the things I look forward to when going on a trip. Why? Because for me it connotes vacation or escape, and the realization that something I've been dreaming of and/or looking forward to for a long time is finally going to happen. 

The post is titled as such simply because whether we admit it or not, girls pack way more stuff than guys do. We don't like paying baggage fees yet we just can't seem to pack only the 'essentials' because, well, we think everything's essential. :p