January 17, 2019

Pasalubong from Batanes

Buying pasalubong or souvenir is not always part of my travel itinerary so when we went to Batanes, feeling ko wala naman ko mabibili. When I also checked our 3 Days Batanes Tour Itinerary, there is no souvenir shop that was included in our tour. I thought makakatipid ako but I was wrong, napagastos din ako.


On the last day of our tour, we saw a souvenir shop and we asked the tour guide kung pwede kami tumingin so we checked some stuff and decided to buy a ref magnet. I don’t normally buy ref magnet kasi natatambak lang but this one, I put it on our fridge.


Then we visited Honesty Coffee Shop, this coffee shop is very popular because there is no staff who will assist you. It is a self-service store where honesty rules. So for experience, we bought something. Just get the product, list the product and price in the notebook, and drop your payment in the drop box. We bought one keychain and two coin purses.



Since we finished our South Batan Tour earlier than expected, our tour guide dropped us at Tawsen Souvenir Shop. We bought cookies and t-shirts. I’ve seen these cookies in Honesty Coffee Shop too so we bought few pieces of it so we can try Batanes delicacy. If you notice the flavor of the cookies, puro root crops noh? Yan kasi tinatanim nila sa Batanes.





You can buy camote cookies, turmeric cookies, peanut cookies, garlic bits, turmeric powder, and turmeric tea. We enjoyed the cookies naman, pwede din snacks habang nagtour or while waiting for your flight. They also sell basket, hat, native bag and vakul. I saw some foreigner who bought vakul, hand-carry nila sa flight.

And on our last day of breakfast in Bernardo’s Hotel, my husband asked kung san pwede bumili ng longganisa and the staff said, they are selling the longganisa. So I bought one pack, my son has been eating this longganisa every single day so para hindi niya mamiss, binilhan ko siya. The longganisa was frozen, they just wrapped it in paper and plastic. Hindi naman siya nasira sa tagal biyahe namin.


While waiting at the Basco Airport, I checked their souvenir shop and I saw sungka. I’ve been looking for this since 2016, nung nakapaglaro kami sa Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan. Akalain mo sa Batanes ko lang makikita.


January 16, 2019

Glimpse of Basco Airport Terminal Building

There are two airports in Batanes Islands, Basco Airport and Itbayat Airport but of course, Basco is the popular one. If you are planning to go to Basco Batanes, here are the airlines that you can check.


Manila to Basco 

Airswift
Cebu Pacific
Skyjet

Clark to Basco 

Philippine Airlines

Tuguegarao to Basco 

Northsky
Air Sky Pasada

Vigan to Basco 

Platinum Skies

Clark to Basco 

There are so many options, the only problem is the budget. We all know that flight to Batanes is not cheap and it is even cheaper to go to Hong Kong and Taiwan compared to Batanes. So it took me a long time to visit this province. I thought, that the flight was almost fully booked kasi mahal na yung mga nakikita ko na fare pero wala pa yata kami 20 persons sa flight namin.


Anyway, I’m so happy when I finally see the Basco Airport. Wow, nakita ko na rin in person ang Basco Airport. This airport is just small pero nagagandahan pa rin ako. It is different compared to small airports that I’ve seen like in Busuanga and Bohol. Though I’m not sure if those airports have improved already since ang tagal na rin nung last visit namin.



Wala bag carousel so hihintayin mo lang talaga siya ibaba ng airport staff. They will just leave your bag on the floor. Pick-up your bag and prepare the bag ticket because they will check it before you can go out. Since there were only few passengers, we were out of the airport in 5 minutes. Our hotel-pick-up was already there.


Basco to Clark 


Our flight is 11:30AM and we arrived at the airport at 9:10AM. We were advised that check-in time is 9:30AM to nagtingin-tingin muna ko sa souvenir shops and I was able to buy sungka. There is no traffic in Basco and wala rin magagawa sa airport so no need na super aga, I think kahit 2 hours before flight ka na umalis from your hotel or accommodation.


Our flight was delayed for almost two hours because late dumating ang plane and weather condition. Biglang lumakas hangin so we are not allowed to fly. Well, when in Batanes, it is pretty normal because you cannot predict the weather. It is still better to be safe than sorry.







I hope someday I can revisit Batanes.

January 15, 2019

Glimpse of Clark International Airport

I already knew that starting year 2018, airlines need to transfer some of their flights to Clark International Airport to decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I thought they will just divide their flights so I was surprised when I learned that there is no longer direct flight from Manila to Basco. Philippine Airlines transferred all flights to Basco in CIA.

I know that some airlines still offer Manila to Basco but we prefer Philippine Airlines because they have two flights every day so just in case there is delay or cancellation of flight, at least pwede kami masingit sa next flight or the following day. So even we live in South Luzon area, we still booked Clark-Basco-Clark flight.

Philippine Airlines Flight to Basco Batanes

Clark to Basco

7:00 to 8:30
9:40 to 11:10

Basco to Clark

9:00 to 10:30
11:30 to 13:00


We’ve been to Clark International Airport in year 2011 when we went to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia and 2012 when we went to Hong Kong and Macau. During that time, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport pa siya. I used to score cheap airfare kapag may seat sale so I did not mind kahit malayo ang travel namin kasi mura pa rin even I will add the transportation expense. In year 2011, we parked our car at Park “N Fly but in year 2012, ayaw ni hubby mag-iwan ng sasakyan so nagcommute kami to Clark Pampanga.


Fast forward to our trip, we left before 1AM for our 7AM flight and we arrived at 2:45AM. It is more or less two hours from our place, good thing wala naman traffic sa SLEX and NLEX. I was a little bit worried kasi sa tagal hindi ko na maalala kung marami ba parking space sa Clark Airport. Good thing that there are enough parking slots when we arrived. Unfortunately, ang layo ng nilakad namin. Mga 10-15 minutes walk from the Park ‘N Fly to airport building, tapos may bitbit ka pa na luggage.


After 6 years, nakatapak ulit sa Clark International Airport. It was only 3:15AM and the counters are still closed pero mahaba na rin ang pila outside the barrier. They opened the counter before 4AM and we were at the boarding at 4:10AM. I thought that the terminal fee was already included in my ticket, hindi pa pala so we paid P150 Terminal Fee per person.

There are only few boarding gates and limited lang ang mga food stores. Hindi 24 hours yung mga store, though some stores are open pero wala naman ko type kainin. How I wish, nagdrive thru muna kami bago dumiretso sa airport.

While waiting for our boarding, my husband showed me a picture, nung nag CR kasi sila napansin niya na may separate restroom for LGBT. “CRK is a gender-responsive airport, LGBT’s are allowed in this restroom”.


Boarding is on time, we rode a shuttle bus to reach our airplane. It was funny, kasi akala ko malayo pero mas malayo pa nga nilakad namin from parking to airport building.



After our 4 Days Trip in Basco Batanes, we arrived at Clark International Airport. Again, we rode the shuttle bus to the airport. We picked up our luggage and buti na lang wala na naging issue sa luggage namin. We walked to the parking lot and we’re happy that our car is still in good condition. We paid P270 for 3 nights parking. Yey, mas mura compared sa NAIA Parking.


CIA Park N Fly Fee: P90 per day 

Read: Advantages and Disadvantages of Parking at Park N Fly 

January 14, 2019

Lunch at Siram Gyupsal Unlimited Korean BBQ House

Few years ago, there are only limited Korean restaurants and we even traveled to Silang Cavite just to eat Korean dishes. It was our first samgyeopsal experience and we really enjoyed it. And because of that, we keep on trying new Korean restaurant. So far, we tried Baek Yuen Korean Restaurant, All 4 U Unlimited Korean Restaurant, and Su Won Garden Korean Restaurant.

Last month, on our way to my in-laws I saw a tarpaulin of a Korean restaurant. Wow, may bago na naman kami kakainan na malapit. Siram Gyupsal started operating last September 8, 2018, in Paseo de San Antonio and last November, they opened a second branch in front of Tubigan. I just take note of that restaurant and finally before classes resume, we were able to try Siram Gyupsal restaurant in Seaoil, Tubigan.


It was Sunday so I was expecting that the place would be crowded but I was glad that only one table was occupied. Siram Gyupsal is not that big so mukhang masikip siya especially kung occupied lahat ng table. Upon seated, the staff asked “Sir, unlimited?” Nagulat naman ko kay kuya, kasi kakaupo pa lang namin at hindi pa nga namin nahahawakan ang menu. Akala ko naman, may a la carte sila, ang choice lang naman pala is Unlimited A or Unlimited B. Maybe the staff was asking kung unlimited A or B ba kami? We chose Unlimited B which is P449 per person.

Watch the video here 




For P449, we have unlimited side dishes, rice, iced tea, and meat. We have 10 choices of meat,

Plain Pork
Salt & Pepper Pork (Dae-Pae Samgyupsal)
Sweet & Spicy Pork (Gochujang Samgyupsal)
Bulgogi Pork
Salt & Pepper Chicken
Sweet & Spicy Chicken (Gochujang Chicken)
Plain Beef
Salt & Pepper Beef
Sweet & Spicy Beef (Gochujang Beef)
Bulgogi Beef

After 5 minutes, the staff served the side dishes, sauces, lettuce, juice, and rice. They have 8 side dishes and 2 kinds of sauces. Then he started putting charcoal on our grilling pan. So first time namin, kasi sa ibang restaurant electric stove or LPG ang pang-grill nila. You can order a maximum of 2 kinds of meat so I ordered Salt and Pepper Pork and Salt and Pepper Beef.




Then the staff served soup, I was surprised because I did not see soup in their menu, I liked this Korean Style Egg Soup.


For our second meat, we chose Bulgogi Pork and Bulgogi Beef, nakadalawang order kami. So all in all, we just had 6 plates of meat. We did not order chicken since we’re not fond of grilled chicken naman pag buffet. They only use one kind of meat, nilalagyan lang nila ng salt & pepper and bulgogi sauce. I’m not sure kung ganun din sa sweet and spicy pork, chicken or beef. Hindi siya marinated.



The restaurant is small and looks clean but malagkit ang table. As in pag-upo namin, nalagkitan na kami sa table and even sa menu, parang ang daming oil. Hindi ako nakatiis at pinunasan ko ang table at menu namin, buti na lang I always have wipes and alcohol. My husband told me, baka hindi daw okay ang sabon na gamit nila so kahit nilinisan, malagkit pa rin.

For the service, I can say it is good naman. We don’t need to call their attention kasi sila mismo lumalapit at nagtatanung kung mag-order pa kami ng meat and they changed our grilling pan kahit hindi namin nirequest. What I also like here, I can order 1 kind of meat, unlike sa iba, minimum of two kinds per order. They have kids rate too, this is very important kasi mahina kumain anak ko, lugi ako lagi. But I hope next time, they will add dessert. There is no time limit but we are done after an hour of  feasting. Before we left, ang dami na nila customers.

Siram Gyupsal Rates

Adult Rate

Unlimited A - Unlimited Pork, Chicken, Side Dishes and Rice
P399 - 11AM to 3PM
P449 - 3PM to 1AM

Unlimited B - Unlimited Beef, Pork, Chicken, Side Dishes, Rice and Iced Tea
P449 - 11AM to 3PM
P499 - 3PM to 1AM

Student Deal (Monday to Friday) - Unlimited Pork, Chicken, Side Dishes and Rice
P350 - Student ID required except holidays.

Kid Rate

FREE - kids under 3.5ft
P350 for children 12 years old and below.

P200 fine for leftover meat,
No take out policy
No sharing
No time limit

A maximum of 2 kinds of meat per order. When you finish the meat, you can order again. They also offer soda, beers and Melona ice cream for a fee.

Siram Gyupsal Unlimited Korean BBQ House 
Seaoil Brgy Tubigan
In front of Filivest South

January 13, 2019

5 Benefits of Travel Insurance You May Not Have Realized

Planning a major trip is no easy feat, whether you’re traveling with kids or heading out solo. I’m always nervous about making deposits on hotels and purchasing expensive flights. In the end, most people invest hundreds of dollars into their travels before they ever leave home. In many cases, these fees are non-refundable!

As a fellow traveler, the last thing I want is for surprises to interrupt your trip and forfeit your hard-earned money.

Having learned the hard way: travel insurance takes much of the risk out of trip planning and traveling.


Before your next trip, check out some best travel insurance resources to learn more and enjoy peace of mind on every adventure. The perks are many, but these specific five benefits are reason enough to consider including travel insurance on every trip as a permanent check-marked item.

#1 - Reimbursement for Cancelled Trips 

Canceled trips are one of my biggest concerns – and for good reason. In many cases, you may not be able to recoup all of your initial investment if you have to cancel your travel plans. Under most circumstances, travel insurance will reimburse you for costs paid upfront that wouldn’t otherwise be refunded. Each insurance provider has a list of reasons that qualify for trip cancellation reimbursement, these typically include sickness, the death of a family member, jury duty, and changes in work schedule.

#2 - Lost or Delayed Luggage Replacement (Major Benefit When Traveling With Kids!) 

Replacing your luggage can be a significant expense (even more so when you’re traveling with kids!). If your luggage is lost, stolen, or delayed, trip insurance can help you replace essential items so you can carry on with your travels.

#3 - Financial Help with Medical Emergencies 

If you’re traveling domestically, your health insurance covers medical emergencies. But this isn’t always the case when traveling abroad.

Travel insurance fills in the gaps left by your health insurance. This may include emergency dental care, other medical emergencies, and evacuation to your home country.

#4 - Medical Support in Remote Areas 

Something as casual as a hike in the mountains can easily turn into a medical emergency, and finding good medical care in remote areas can be challenging. It can cost thousands of dollars to have you airlifted or transported to a medical facility. Even if your medical needs aren’t that extreme, just one incident could force you to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket. The best travel insurance practice is to opt for a plan that includes basic and worst-case-scenario coverage. This way, you have peace of mind in the event of an emergency.

#5 - Coverage for the Whole Family 

When you’re traveling with others, your travel-related expenses are much greater than when you’re doing it solo. The more people you’re responsible for, the greater the cost of small interruptions like flight delays or illnesses. For example, if a child were to become too ill to fly, you’d have to alter flight arrangements for everyone in your group.

Travel insurance can cover everyone in your family or group. If an incident occurs, you won’t be stressed about paying for travel changes for every member of your party.

Final Thoughts 

I’ll leave you with my last two cents: When you’re preparing for your next trip, make sure you include travel insurance in your plan. It’s something I never thought I’d use, but once I made my first purchase for it, I’ve used it ever since and have never regretted not making the investment to protect my life and belongings.

Travel insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all, so take time to explore the best travel insurance options to find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Author’s Bio: 

Bob Hornal is the founder and President of Best Quote Travel Insurance in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. With over 15 years of experience as a financial advisor, Bob has traveled to more than 30 incredible countries and has dealt with a multitude of difficult situations including flight delays, medical emergencies, and weather damage, making Bob an expert at traveling.

His dream is to inspire and inform those who wish to travel by including his personal experiences and professional knowledge in each piece he writes.

January 11, 2019

Highlights of 2018

I was awake as early as 12AM last December 31 because we need to catch our morning flight to Basco Batanes. While waiting at the boarding gate, I was reflecting my year 2018 and I was not able to finish my notes so here I am, trying my best to finish my supposed to be year-end post.


If my year 2017 is like a rollercoaster ride, my year 2018 is a challenging year. If you’ve read my post last year, two weeks before Christmas we received a not so good news so we welcomed 2018 even we didn’t know what will happen. We patiently waited for an answer and holding on His Promises.
“For I know the plans, I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29;11” 
2018 is not a good year for our family, there are so many ups, downs, and even bumps. It was physically, emotionally, and financially draining. It was challenging because…

1. We don’t know if my husband will still have a job, his former company sold one of their business and unfortunately, that business is where my husband works. So there is no option to stay in the former company and there is no assurance that the new company will hire him. The waiting is so long and we have no other choice but to wait.

After five months of waiting, we’re grateful that my husband got an offer from the new company. Even the salary and benefits are very different, he still accept it. Mahirap walang source of income lalo na I’m not working. We’re thankful that he got an offer because yung iba, nawalan talaga ng work.

2. So when I thought that life is already okay and smooth, I did not imagine that our last quarter of the year would be so emotional. We’ve lost someone dear to us and two of my in-laws were diagnosed with cancer. We all know that dealing with cancer is not easy. Cancer affects everyone in the family because family routine changes and lifestyle.
“When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does too” - Terri Clark 
I realized na mamamatay ka talaga kung wala ka pera because even you go to PCSO, it takes time to get an Individual Medical Assitance. Two months of waiting and until now, we’re still waiting if we can get an assistance.

My husband just bought his insurance with critical illness, two months before we heard the news about cancer. I’m thinking if I will get insurance with critical illness too kasi kawawa si hubby if ever, kulang ang health card.

3. Aside from that, starting January our family was going to the hospital every month tapos naging every week na starting October for our health concerns too. Some are simple health concerns lang naman pero hindi mo pwede ipawalang bahala like caterpillar sting, ear infection, colds and cough and even upset stomach of my son. It is not a secret that I have psoriasis so I always have check-up and laboratory test. Nakakapagod but health is wealth and prevention is better than cure.

But despite the challenges, I’m still grateful because God is faithful and God always provides. The year 2018, is the year when I got more blog opportunities and I even became part of Althea Angels. So even our problems and concerns are not yet over. I’m still looking forward to year 2019.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according t his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4;19” 
So what happened in...

January 

January, the start of the year. Even we don’t know what will happen to my husband's job, we still make short-term goals. Life must go on! I looked for a resort for our anniversary and family outings. Mabilis mafully-booked ang resort so as early as January, I paid our reservation for our family outing with my mom. We also went to Tienda sa Solenad.

February 

We had a simple home improvement, my husband wants my son to sleep in his own room na so we’ve started fixing his room. It was my son’s Field Trip and this time hindi na kami nagconvoy. It was our wedding anniversary too, so we had Staycation at Pico Sands Hotel and Sofitel Manila. We were able to watch 9th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.



Read: Breakfast Buffet in Spiral
Food Trip in Hamilo Coast Pico De Loro

March

We attended my son’s Recognition Day in school and ate at All 4 U Unlimited Korean Restaurant. We treated our son to Kidzania for getting a Gold Eagle Certificate for the school year 2017-2018. We had a day trip at Acuaverde Beach Resort. We went to Caleruega last Holy Thursday. My mom went home for vacation so we spent the Holy Week long weekend in Valenzuela.


April 

To enjoy the summer, we had a family outing at Laiya Coco Grove and family get-together. I got a DFA appointment for my husband so he can renew his passport because he doesn’t have enough passport pages. We booked tickets and planned for our Bangkok and Baguio Getaway. Our most memorable moment on this trip is we experienced Business Flight on our way to Bangkok, Thailand.

Read: Passport Renewal Experience




May 

May is a busy month because I need to prepare for “Back to School”. I bought books, school supplies, and uniform. And because I was so preoccupied, I made a mistake in writing my check so I paid P1500 for that simple mistake. We celebrated Mother’s Day at Tong Yang Plus. And before summer vacation is over, we had a Day Trip at Woodside Farm and Waterpark with my in-laws.


June

Back to school. June is the month when my husband started with his new company and because of that, he has no vacation leave yet. So he was so busy that we were not able to celebrate his birthday. Kasi meron siya despidida from former company + orientation naman sa new company. Sobrang hectic so we had delayed celebration na lang and sabay na rin ng Father’s Day. We went back to Tong Yang Plus.

July

After two months of not flying, my husband is back with his business trip again so wala gaano ganap kasi nasa bahay lang kami mag-ina. I received good news that I’m part of Althea Angels. Yey! I’m hooked with Korean products so I’m really happy to be part of Althea Korea.

August 

It was my birthday month and we celebrated it at Las Flores and Pantry of Dusit Thani Hotel. I got birthday shopping rewards from Althea Korea so I splurged on my birthday. We watched my son’s Cheers and Yells and they won. First championship since 1985 daw. Wow!

September

September was stressful because Furniture Source Philippines failed to deliver our order on the agreed date. It took them 24 days to fulfill our order. Kastress talaga! It was also my son’s first recollection in school.

We celebrated my son’s 10th birthday in advance so we spent the last weekend of September in Sofitel Manila again but this time we book the Sofitel Luxury Club room. My husband and I had a quick date in Tagaytay.


October

10th birthday of my son and 80th birthday of my grandmother-in-law so we went to Pangasinan to attend her birthday. This is also the start of our series of check-up, we visited different doctors such Pedia, Ophthapedia, and OB. We lost someone dear to us and this is also the month when we learned that my two in-laws were diagnosed with cancer.

November 

Our family had a series of check-up and labtest with OB-Gyne, Pedia, Orthopedic and Dentist.

December

Our family had a series of check-up, labtest, and therapy with OB-Gyne, Nephro, Orhophedic, Ophtha, and Derma. I still need to see my Gastro doctor pero dahil holiday na, nagpahinga muna ko. Writing this year-end post, reminds me na hindi pa ko nakakabalik. Waah!

We had family get together, we went to Tagaytay and lastly, we end the year 2018 in Batanes.


With all the health expenses that we’ve spent parang ayaw ko ng gumastos pa. But life is short. We deserve a break and we want to enjoy the holiday. I was thankful for God’s provisions and making our Batanes trip possible. Expect for my Batanes series soon.
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