Tips When Traveling in London

One of the best places to tour is London. There are just too many places that are interesting to visit that you would feel that a one week vacation is not enough to appreciate the breath-taking sceneries London has to offer. And to make your vacation in London more memorable, it would be best that you keep the following in mind:

· Currency: The currency used for London is pound sterling (£). While one pound is divided into one hundred pence (p), coins come in the form of 1p, 2p, and even £5.

· Tax and Giving Tips: Tax is 17.5% on goods and services and the good thing is that for non-EU and EU residents who would be leaving the country within the span of three months of purchasing the goods may claim a VAT refund. Although EU residents in particular must be sure to stay outside the country for a year before they are qualified to claim the refund. Giving tips on the other hand when it comes to fine dining restaurants depends on the tourists as well since there is a service charge of around 15% is included in the charge unless the customer is dissatisfied with the service. Cabs often expect a tip of around 10-15% as compared to minibus drivers who usually do not expect any tip. Just remember that if you are in a bar and someone brings your food to your table, giving a tip may be appropriate, provided that the service is satisfactory.

· Telephone Numbers: Country code would be 44, City Code is 22. Make sure that whenever you are dialing from within England, add a “0”(zero) before entering the city code. No longer need to add the country code. Other telephone numbers which you may find useful when you are travelling in London are: 999 for emergencies, 100 for a UK operator, 155 if you are looking for an international operator, 192 for directory information. If you need to get in touch with tourist service centers, you can dial either: 020 7808 3810 for the British Tourist Authority or 020 7932 2000 for the London Tourist Board.

Knowing what to bring whenever you go out of the country and the documents necessary to get approved is good but it is also important that you know this kind of information. Who knows? It might save you from troubles which you may encounter along the way. If you are planning a trip to London soon then checking SightseeingToursLondon.com is a good place to start.

The Hundred Islands Summer Trip

I should have written my experience about this summer trip right after returning here in Manila but been busy with lots of stuff. Even right now, I believe I don’t have the luxury of time to blog about this since I still have some pending online tasks. Nonetheless, I have to update this post once and for all!

It’s big thanks to my friends (Ice, Patty, Ed, Mae Ann, Bebe, & Hai) for inviting me to join this Hundred Island escapade.

We booked a trip for April 4, 2012 11:55PM but for some reason, the bus left after 12MN. Talk about the holiday rush and some related issues. By 7AM the next day, we’re already at Islandia Hotel, Alaminos City, Pangasinan but we’re not yet allowed to check in for we were so early! Lol. Good thing that the manager was there. He accommodated our request of checking in with our baggages only. And to make up for that, we had breakfast at their resto. Tocino and hot coffee for me!

Breakfast at Islandia

Breakfast at Islandia Hotel - Patty, Liz (yours truly) & Mae Ann (Bebe, Hai, & Ice were at the opposite side; Ed took this pic)

Islandia Hotel - Coffee for Breakfast

Islandia Hotel - Tocino for Breakfast

We had a quick city tour after breakfast and we were disappointed to know that the malls weren’t going to open despite the long wait. It’s Maundy Thursday and the malls are obviously closed. We just headed back to the hotel and formally checked in. Then we spent some time at the swimming pool while enjoying calamares and sweet fried potato.

Islandia Hotel Swimming Pool

Swimming at Islandia Hotel Pool

We had our late lunch/early dinner at Maxine’s Rendevous in Lucap. We truly enjoyed the big serving of seafood platter! We were all so full and super happy with what we ate. Haha. Epic!

Seafood Platter @ Maxine's Restaurant

Enjoying Seafood Platter at Maxine's Rendezvous

Happy at Maxine's Restaurant by the Sea

Maxine's Rendezvous - Sunset

Once we’re back to our hotel room, everyone’s busy with their own gadgets. And they seem to be having fun with Draw Something!

Friday came and we had to leave early so we were in a hurry for breakfast. Our boating schedule was 7:00 AM but we had it moved to 7:30 AM. There were lots of people at Hundred Islands Tourism office but we skipped the long queue since Mae Ann has booked the boating + packed lunch package for all of us.

It was really scorching hot outside while waiting for our boat!

Hundred Islands - Waiting for the boat

Once the boatman and his assistant were ready, we rode the boat and off we sail!

Hundred Islands Boating

I kept taking pictures of the islands and it was my first real sea adventure. I was actually afraid of boating since I can’t swim and I really fear drowning.

Governor's Island - Hundred Islands Philippines

Our first stop over was at Governor’s Island. We climbed up to see the full view of the island and we’re all sweaty and tired by the time we reached the top.

Governor's Island Climb

We also explored the man-made cave nearby but we couldn’t stay that long inside since it was extremely hot! Too hard to breathe!

Man Made Cave in Hundred Islands

We continued with our island hopping and I lost track of the islands we’ve visited. All I can remember is the first and last islands which are Governor’s Island and Martha Island respectively.

Hundred Islands while Boating

Shots in Hundred Islands
Hundred Islands Rocks
Hundred Islands Cave-like Island
Hundred Islands Caves

 Hundred Islands, Pampanga

I can’t even remember where we had lunch. All I know is that we ate our packed lunch on one of the many islands after finding a perfect shade. We met a funny guy out there who befriended Kuya Hai. He was an interesting guy who offered us fresh seaweeds (& Ice gladly grabbed some) and let Kuya Hai drink some liquor with them. Haha.

Hundred Islands Seaweeds

While they were so excited to swim and snorkel, I wasn’t. So they let me try even if I was too scared and having a hard time. I had a quick good peek of underwater with little fishes and corals. I’ve got some bruises in return. With the help of life vest, I was able to make my way from the edgy spots of corals to the shore. Whew! Of course I didn’t learn swimming but I did overcome my fear. They told me that as long as I’m wearing the lifevest and I keep my arms moving and my feet kicking, I’ll get somewhere and I shouldn’t be afraid.

Hundred Islands - Island Hopping

Hundred Islands - Island Hopping 2

On the next island, I decided not to join them in swimming anymore. My legs where too tired and I wanted to take more photos. And I’ve got good shots of them fooling around:

Having Fun in Hundred Islands

Can you guess what happened?

We all had a good laugh with what Kuya Hai did. After persuading/apologizing to Ice, they’re back to swimming. Mae Ann and I were left behind.

Island Hopping at Hundred Islands

Island Hopping in Hundred Islands 2
Back from Swimming - Hundred Islands
Once they’re all back and just lying on the shore, we had a funny conversation. We talked about different things such as the government, marriage, getting pregnant, and some adult stuff. LOL @ Mae Ann.

That was the last stop then we left the Hundred Islands. Some of us went swimming at the pool once we’re back at the hotel. We’re waiting for our turn in the shower anyway so better play at the pool first.

We had halo halo after shower but I’m quite disappointed with the serving. :( And they felt the same thing.
Halo Halo Time at Islandia Hotel

Not picture-worthy but I still tried:

Not so special halo halo in Islandia Hotel

We all took a nap after that and it was dinner time when we woke up. Mae Ann’s treat and it’s a second round of Maxine’s Rendezvous!

This time, we talked about work and more on interview tips. Of course we’re having fun while eating and the next thing we know, we’re all done!

So goodbye, Maxines! ’til next time! I wish to be back here for a date… and probably with sexier outfit than this one. Hahaha.

Sexy Lizzie at Maxine's Rendezvous

We left Alaminos, Pangasinan at 2PM the next day and we’re back to Manila by 9PM.

I really enjoyed this trip! Thanks guys!

Main Attractions in Florida

Some people say that Orlando, Florida is the vacation capital of the world mostly because it is where you can find the best and most popular vacation destination for families. Walth Disney’s World, Universal Studios and Sea World are just some of the main attractions.

Aside from the world’s largest amusement park and resort and other theme parks, there are lots of must-see places in Orlando. So if you’re staying for a visit, make sure that you plan ahead to get the best deals from Orlando hotels. You can enjoy more if you know that you’ll be safe in a cozy and exquisite hotel. For more information about hotel deals and tours, check this Facebook page.

Sight-seeing during the day is really refreshing while shopping and partying at night are extremely fun and engaging. You can find exciting arcades and interest shops which are open until dawn. During peak season, there are lots of tourists to watch the festival. So make sure that you check your calendar and book your flight according to plan.

Philippines’ Best: Mt. Pinatubo’s Crater Lake

All my bags are packed,
I’m ready to go…

Pink Backpack for Mt. Pinatubo
Ready for the climb!

I met up with Rhonz at Starbucks, Ortigas Center at around 1:00 AM right after rushing finishing my online tasks. It was already drizzling and it made us worried about our trip to Capas, Tarlac – Bloggers’ Climb For A Cause Thru Akyat Pinatubo. Is there something good to look forward to with this kind of gloomy weather? Is the worst yet to come? We hoped not, and I knew, deep inside our hearts all of the participants were praying so hard for a fine, sunny weather. Even just for that day…

We boarded the bus (KISS Tourist Bus) at 2:30 AM as soon as it was parked. After some reminders and attendance check, we left Manila and headed to extreme north to witness one of the most beautiful natural creations.

But the dawn is breakin’, It’s early morn’

We arrived at Pinatubo Spa Town at 6:35 AM. Jonel and Travel Factor handled bloggers’ registration as we prepped up, took photos and grabbed a bite before the 4X4 ride (4-by-4 land cruiser).

Pinatubo Spa Town
Pinatubo Spa Town

We were so choosy of which 4X4 to ride. All of us would love to be in an open land cruiser to clearly see the view on our way to Mt. Pinatubo. Unfortunately, Rhonz and I ended up to an enclosed 4X4 with Kuya Muning as our tour guide. The sun was brightly shining as we tried to enjoy our boring bumpy ride. It was like trumping in a barren land. If not for the wild grass and streams of water, I could say we’re on a desert. Talk about the residue of volcanic eruption – rock deposits, soil dregs and sediments.

4x4 Ride

Bumpy ride begins here...

View from Land Cruiser

Loooong way to go!

Rock Formations at Mt. Pinatubo

Passed by sediment mountains and rock formations

Inspiring Blue Sky

This is a good sign...

The Earth spewed some dirt and water on us while enjoying the ride. We were thankful that we’re on an enclosed vehicle, saved us from mud! Once we reached the jump off point and took off from the 4X4, it started raining. From light drizzle to heavy rainfall, we thought we’ll never see the majestic view of Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake under the sun…

We were so tired and weary when the sun suddenly showed up and showered us with its beaming brightness and some energy boosts. We were going up the trail faster… eager to see the most astounding view at the pinnacle. Sunlight could make the most perfect view out of it.

The moment it stopped raining, I started taking pictures. Rhonz and I got the hang of trekking. We’re enjoying every step of our happy feet.

Liz and Rhonz by the Rock
Climb Buddies: Pinkish and Purplish

Suddenly, the scorching heat of the sun seeped through my skin. The rain had washed off my sun block but I’ve got no time to reapply since everyone was moving fast and I had to keep up, else, I’d be left behind to another group of hikers. Non-bloggers. Strangers, to be exact. Plus, we’re up for the challenge:

Mt. Pinatubo Trekking
Your speed speaks of your age…

Finally, we see the crater lake – cerulean-blue water was sparkling like crystal while the verdant mountains looks lusciously green, incessantly dancing with the soft cool breeze… a newly found paradise.

Conquer Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake
Each mountain-climber is a winner… You just have to sweat out to claim this priceless prize!

The Majestic Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

The Majestic Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

I had to catch my breath as I gazed through them. The magnificent view made me excited to take pictures and post with others! It was really magical, picturesque, amazing! Sugoi!

Conquer Mt. Pinatubo
I conquered Mt. Pinatubo!

I was amused with the glistening waters and breathtaking lakefront views. The sunlight was invigorating, the breeze was so refreshing. What a lovely, wonderful sight! The scene was really captivating. I wanted to shout, I’m the Queen of the world!!! The splendid panorama enthralled my senses and triggered my unspoken fantasies. I never imagined that life away from the city could be this luxurious.

Breathtaking lakefront view
Naturally luxurious! I wanna swim, too!

Amazing natural wonder! No more flat grassy grounds and uneven rock formations. Everything was carefully sculpted by God’s own hands. Fascinating, enchanting, charming… I’m running out of descriptive words now because I was obviously overwhelmed!

Mt. Pinatubo Amazing Crater Lake
So refreshing… so inviting…

I couldn’t imagine that this beautiful haven had once been deadly… and possibly be after 10-20 years.

I went home with sore muscles, chapped lips, burnt skin and aching soles. But the thrilling experience nullified my complaints. I am not complaining at all, I can simply feel the pain but ecstasy was still all over me. I’m proud to say that I left the place with a delightful spirit, cheerful heart, and a good tale to tell. Each moment spent doing nothing but staring at the lake was so pleasant and gratifying. I just conquered Mt. Pinatubo and I am ready to conquer another mountain.

Ecstasy was all over me!
Ecstasy was all over me!
Play with the water - Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake
Playing with the water with so much delight!

I may not have impressive shots and flowery words in this post for you to come and see the place. But still, I’m trying to convince you. The images are not the only proof to rely upon. I’m a living witness of the Philippines best – Mt. Pinatubo’s crater lake. It should be on anyone’s bucket list. It’s a view worth seeing. It’s a piece of heaven…

Thanks to Fila for my shoes, Trend Micro for my cap, and Sky Travel for my bag. Most of all, thanks to Lizzie of Pinkville (that’s me!) for providing this uber pink apparel. The perfect traveling essentials! Alrighty, enough of shameless plugging of my other blog. Thanks to Nailo (my DSLR) for the photos! Next time, I might get a Flip or trail cameras for events like this. It would be cool to share video clips, right?

Big thanks should go to Jonel of LetsGoSago, all of the sponsors, the bloggers and the Pinatubo Spa Town tour guides! It was a thrilling experience I couldn’t and wouldn’t forget!

Akyat Pinatubo Bloggers for a Cause
Bloggers’ for A Cause!

Now the time has come to leave you,
One more time, let me kiss you…

Capas National Shrine

I have to say goodbye... (Capas National Shrine, Tarlac)

Panagbenga 2011 – I’ve Been to Baguio!

I’m still busy uploading pictures into my Facebook account so I’ll just post my first Baguio experience later. Just a teaser post here!

Lovely guys were in the Panagbenga 2011, Grand Float Parade!

Enchong Dee in Baguio

Enchong Dee

Sam Milby in Baguio

Sam Milby