June 21, 2024

7 Days Trip in Sydney Australia

Almost a year ago, Philippine Airlines had a Great Mabuhay Miles Getaway Sale so we checked their promo. We’ve been meaning to go back to Japan before the pandemic because we have a valid visa so we want to use it. Unfortunately, when we checked the promotion Japan has blackout dates. 

We were left with two choices which are Taiwan and Australia, but we took a risk with Australia even though we don’t have visas yet. My husband even called Mabuhay Miles while he was in Jakarta so we spent thousands on that international call because we had no idea about a toll-free number. But at the end of the day, we were still happy because even though we added the phone bill, mura pa rin yung airfare namin, kapresyo lang ito ng Davao trip ko.

After purchasing our plane ticket, I bought our travel insurance and started searching about “How to Apply for Australian Tourist Visa” in the Philippines. 

Two months before our flight, we booked our hotel and I chose Hyde Park Inn because of the good reviews, location and it has its own kitchen. 

When I applied for our visa, this is my submitted itinerary 

Day 1: Manila to Sydney Flight 
Day 2: Explore Chinatown 
Day 3: Sydney Tour 
Day 4: Bondi Tour 
Day 5: Blue Mountain 
Day 6: Taronga Zoo + Luna Park 
Day 7: Sydney to Manila 

But during our trip, there are a few changes. We did not go to Chinatown anymore because we discovered that there were few tourist spots that we could visit near our hotel. We no longer visited Luna Park because we were so tired already. 

Day 1: Manila to Sydney Flight 

On the day of our trip, our internet connection was fixed after one week of no connection so I was cramming. This was the only time that I purchased our tour tickets via Klook. I printed our vouchers and off we went to NAIA. We checked in, ate dinner, and waited for our flight. The flight is on time.

Sydney Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tours (Open-Top) - Essential Ticket 48hrs 
Taronga Zoo and Sydney Harbour Hopper Ticket - 1-Day Hopper Pass with Taronga Zoo Entry 
Blue Mountains Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Pass with optional Scenic World Tickets - Lyrebird Pass 

As of this writing, I couldn’t find the exact links of the activities I purchased and Klook is giving me these options. 

Manila to Sydney 8 hrs and 35 mins 

Day 2: Museum Station Tour 

After 8 hours of traveling, we arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport; we went to immigration, got our luggage, and went to customs. Then we went straight to the Airport Train Station and purchased our Opal Card here. 

We went to Hyde Park Inn to drop our luggage, ate lunch, and went back to the hotel for check-in. We took a rest and started to explore the tourist spots near the hotel or Museum Station like Hyde Park, Anzec Memorial, Australian Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and from afar, we can see the Sydney Tower. 

Day 3: Sydney Hop On Hop Off Tour 

I purchased a Big Bus Tour Sydney Hop On Hop Off ticket via Klook. This tour has 2 routes, Sydney Route and Bondi Route so I bought the 48-hour ticket to cover the two routes. 

For Day 3, we traveled to Circular Quay via train, and from the train station we just walked to the Big Bus. The duration of the Sydney Tour is 1 hour and forty-five minutes so we enjoyed the view while listening to the pre-recorded commentary. 

After the tour, we ate snacks and started our walking tour at the Sydney Opera House and Botanic Garden. Dito pa lang ubos na energy namin. 

Day 4: Bondi Hop on Hop Off Tour 

Day 4 was another Hop On Hop Off Tour and we took the blue route which is the Bondi Tour. The first bus started at Central Station but we did not go there and just waited at the Australian Museum bus stop.

Australian Museum is a few minutes walk from our hotel so while waiting for 9:45AM, we visited Hyde Park, Hyde Barracks, and St. Mary’s Cathedral. 

The Bondi Tour duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes, there are 14 stops but we are only interested in Bondi Beach. We explored the beach, ate lunch, and waited for the bus so we could go back to Sydney.

We went back to our hotel for a quick rest then we went back to the Australian Museum Bus Stop so we could continue our Hop On Hop Off tour. We explored Darling Harbour Tourist Spots. 

Day 5: Blue Mountain

We woke up early because we needed to be at the Central Station before 6:23AM. We wanted to ride the first train going to Katoomba Station. Travel time is 2 hours. 

I purchased the Lyrebird Pass which includes the Hop On Hop Off Bus and Scenic World Tickets. We had unlimited rides on the Scenic Skyway, Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Walkway.

Day 6 Taronga Zoo + Hopper Cruise

I purchased the Taronga Zoo + Hopper Cruise ticket so we had a Taronga Zoo ticket, Round Trip Ferry Transfers, and 1 Day Access to Manly-Watsons Bay Ferry. We traveled to Circular Quay and walked to Wharf 6, this is where we are going to claim our ticket and ride our ferry. 

After exploring the zoo, we took advantage of the Hopper Cruise Tickets so we were able to visit Manly and Watson’s Bay. 

Since this would be our last time to tour, we spent more time in the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge before we went back to our hotel. 

Day 7 Sydney to Manila Flight 

Our Sydney to Manila flight was so early so after our breakfast, we checked out and traveled to the airport via train. Late nag-open ang check-in counter so natagalan kami sa pagcheck-in at sa Immigration. Nagmamadali kami sa pagkain ng lunch and pagbili ng last minute pasalubong. Nakakastress yung pauwi namin, parang kulang sa oras. 

Sydney to Manila 8 hrs and 15 mins  

Even though our last day was kind of stressful, I can still say that our Sydney Australia trip was a stress-free trip, why? We did not get lost. We were able to go from point A to point B without asking for directions. We did not miss rice because there was an Asian restaurant near our hotel. Our room has a kitchen so we were able to save money on food. The voucher tickets that I purchased saved me time in doing our itinerary. 

Sydney seems cashless society because some stores and restaurants do not accept cash. Good thing that our credit card did not fail us. Prior to our trip my husband went to the bank to buy Australian Dollars pa for our pocket money na hindi rin naman pala namin magagamit.Well, ginastos ko yung iba to buy pasalubong. 

And because of our stress-free trip, we planned to go back to Australia and visit another state. If money is not an issue, for sure nakabalik na kami kasi may valid visa pa kami kaso no budget pa. Hehehe!

Australia is the third continent that I have visited. 

June 19, 2024

Dinner at Modern Shang

 A few months ago we ate at Modern Shang and I promised myself that I would return on my next check-up but last month my mom wanted to eat out bago daw siya umalis sa amin. So I suggested Modern Shang and am so happy because there was an ongoing credit card promo when we ate. Fifty percent discount, a minimum of PHP3000 and a maximum of PHP6,000. 

My mom ordered The Emperor Feast PHP1588 and Mango Cream PHP148 and my family ordered Xiao Longbao PHP268, Hototay Bowl PHP398, Orange Chicken Bowl PHP398, Small Deep Fried Squid PHP418, Buchi PHP208 and Nutella Buchi PHP228. I am a creature of habit talaga, Deep Fried Squid ulit kasi order ko, hehehe!

I’ve seen the bundles menu before pero wala naman kasi dito yung gusto namin na ulam kaya iba pa rin order namin. My mom wanted The Emperor’s Feast kahit good for 3-4 persons so ending hirap na hirap kami ubusin but she was happy because she was able to try different dishes. 

Emperor’s Feast 

Our Signature Xiao Long Bao (4pcs) 
Deep Fried Pork Ribs 
Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet 
Sauteed String Beans with Minced Pork 
Sauteed Water Spinach with Minced Pork 
Egg Rice 

First time din ng anak ko sa Modern Shang and he also enjoyed his Xiao Long Bao, Orange Chicken Bowl, and Nutella Buchi. I tried both buchi, mas gusto ko yung mongo beans ang filling. 

June 18, 2024

Graduation Cards

My mom requested for graduation cards but since my nephew’s graduation is late, hindi na ko nagmadali sa pagkagawa. Actually, I already cut the design last month but I was not able to assemble the cards because my mother-in-law passed away. https://www.michiphotostory.com/2024/06/the-day-that-we-fear-has-come.html 

After two weeks, I decided to finish the cards so I could give them to my mom before the graduation. I made 3 layered cards so she will have options. 

Happy Graduation Layered Card

The Happy Graduation Layered Card is designed by The Bearded Housewife and the envelope is already included in his SVG file. My mom chose this card for my nephew. 

Hat and Diploma Graduation Card 

The Hat and Diploma Graduation Card is designed by Craft with Sarah. There is a 2023 date on the card so I covered it with a “Happy Graduation” phrase. 

Hip Hip Hooray Graduation Card 

The Hip Hip Hooray Graduation Card is also designed by Craft with Sarah. It is so easy to cut and assemble. 

Congratulation Cards

Last month was my son’s Recognition Day so I made some Congratulations Card. I had limited time so I only cut one design but used different cardstocks. The Congratulations Star Card is a layered card designed by Craft with Sarah.

Congrats Star Card 

I gave one to my mom so she could write a message to my son. Then she asked me if I could make cards for my niece and nephew so I cut this Congratulations Layered Card. This is a 4 layered card but I used white cardstock for the 2nd and 3rd layers and colored the flowers and plants using Ohuhu Markers and Glitter Markers. 

Congratulations Layered Card 

Congrats Fractured Card 

I joined Card Making Countdown of Craft with Sarah and one of the projects is Fractured Card. I only had a few patterned papers so I cut the design using black cardstock, embossed the paper, and lastly, I used Simon Hurley Lunar Paste to add colors. The "Congrats" is stamped and embossed using embossing powder and a heat gun.

June 17, 2024

Father’s Day Celebration

Another long weekend but we did not travel kasi every weekend na lang kami wala sa bahay so we wanted to stay home naman. And yesterday was Father’s Day too pero wala din handa, parang gusto na namin magdiet because since last month, puro buffet at kainan kami.

I made a Father’s Day Cake Topper but I was not able to use it because my husband doesn’t want a cake. For the cake topper, I just used one of the SVG designs from the Father’s Day Greeting Quotes Bundle

I also made this Father’s Day Layered Card using the Me and Dad Layered Card Design of The Bearded Housewife. I like this card because it reminded me of the the days when my son was in toddler years, lagi siya nasa shoulders ng Daddy niya kasi ang bagal maglakad or ayaw na maglakad. hehehe! "On Dad's Shoulders was the best place to be" Happy Father's Day! 

Akala ko hindi na kami aalis but I remembered that my mom gave money to my son so he can watch “Inside Out 2” movie. His cousins watched this movie na kasi kaso hindi siya nakasama kasi naman malayo kami so para no FOMO, I suggested na manood na kami. I checked the schedule at Southwoods Mall and buzzer beater kami sa 4:10PM na movie. 

I was checking my blog post and yung last movie na pinanood namin sa big screen was Avengers: Endgame and sa Norway pa. Hindi na kasi ko mahilig manood ng sine, hinihintay ko na lang sa Netflix. PHP380 x 3 persons, mahal din ha, buti na lang may free popcorn and water na yun. Hehehe! 

June 14, 2024

Recognition Day 2024

In my previous post, I mentioned na parang nakakaloka yung emotion namin kasi up and down. On the second day of my late mother-in-law’s wake, it was my son’s Recognition Day. While we were waiting for the program to start, I saw my teary-eyed husband so I told him to clear his head for a few hours because this moment is for our son. It is hard when we are in pain but we need to show up. 

When my son made it to the overall top last year, I told him that maintaining to be on top is not easy but my son proved to us that he can do it. Actually, my son told me na 5th honor dapat siya but extracurricular is part of the final grade computation so he ended up with sixth honor. Regardless of the ranking, we are still proud of him because he worked hard for it. 

This year, my son received 3 medals; Sixth Honor, Gold Eagle Awardee, and Special Conduct Award for Male. I was not surprised with this award but happy kasi na notice na rin yung pagiging good student niya ng teachers. Introvert kasi anak ko so madalas hindi naman siya kilala ng mga teachers except for his subjects teachers. 

After the Recognition Day, we just went to the mall to eat lunch and buy cake. We ate at Ben’s Halo-Halo x Meshiya and ordered Classic Spaghetti PHP174, Shio Ramen PHP230, BBQ Ribs P280, California Maki PHP230, and Iced Tea PHP50 each. Cake is from Contis which is Banana Dream.

We are in a hurry kasi we need to go back to the wake. May mga ex-officemates nga si hubby na nakiramay kaso nasa Recognition Day pa kami. Yung Recognition celebration, sa wake na rin nangyari and we just ordered a Family Feast Bundle from Shakey’s. 

Of course, I made “Congrats Cards”, using one design but different cardstock. For the Congrats Cake Topper, I used Birthday Verygood Font which I also used in my graduation cake toppers. 

June 13, 2024

The Day That We Fear Has Come

No blog post for the last few weeks because so many things happened in our family. It was a series of events, how I wish happy lahat but it wasn’t. It was like riding a roller coaster, up and down ang emotions. In one moment you feel sad and then one moment, you need to push yourself to smile because it is a happy celebration. Nakakaloka! 

The day that we fear has come because a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law passed away. She was one of the strongest people I know and hindi ko nga alam kung saan siya humuhugot ng lakas. She raised 6 children, unfortunately, my two sisters-in-law passed away.

It was year 2010 when my eldest sister-in-law passed away because of colon cancer and in 2019, my sister-in-law lost her battle to uterine cancer. Then, in 2020, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer. 

My late mother-in-law survived uterine cancer so we also hoped that she could fight the colon cancer. She underwent colon cancer surgery and finished all chemotherapy and the results were good so we thought, okay na. But in 2021, she went back to the hospital for a cholecystectomy. Oh no, another surgery again, and unfortunately, it is also the start of her dialysis. 

So since 2021, she spent most of her life going to the hospital for dialysis, check-ups, surgery, and confinement. I can’t imagine kung paano niya kinakaya ang lahat. Imagine nagkauterine cancer, may diabetes, nagkacolon cancer, nagkagallstones, nagkacataract and nagdadialysis pa. 

I witnessed how she tried to be tough and hold on even in pain. Maybe that is the reason why God took her home, she experienced so much pain in this world. We were sad because she was gone but we felt relieved because we knew that she was in a better place, no more crying, fear, or pain. She will be missed and Christmas gatherings will not be the same without her. 

I found this poem and I don’t know who is the original author but this is the exact words that I want to tell her because I am forever thankful to her for raising a loving son and blessed me with a wonderful husband. 

You are the Mother I received 
 the day I wed your son 

And I just want to thank you, Mom 
for the things that you have done 

You have given me a gracious man 
with whom I share my life 

You are his lovely mother
and I, his lucky wife

May 27, 2024

Graduation Cake Topper

One week of not blogging because I am finishing my graduation and recognition craft projects. I was in a rush kasi naman baka hindi umabot sa celebration so I was glad, na umabot naman. I am sharing the graduation cake topper I made for my niece and nephews who graduated from Preschool, Grade School, and Senior High School. 

Just like last year, one design na lang for everybody. I used the graduating kids' SVG file from Bearly Art and Birthday Verygood Font. I used glitter, mirror foil and smooth cardstock.