a pensieve

Travel

Shanghai Trip 2017: Chapter 4

hI really can’t remember why and how I broke down my Shanghai trip into chapters. And I really don’t know how am I going to proceed now. For now, here’s what happened to our day 2 in Shanghai.

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It was agreed the night before that we were going to start our Sunday by attending a mass at the nearest Catholic Church from our place, but, when we got there, it occurred to us that the mass that’s about to start will be in Chinese. So, we say our Prayers and left the church.

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Shanghai All Saints Church in Danshui Road.

About 50 meters (or was it less?) away from the church was Line and Friends Cafe. It was also in our itinerary that we would be having coffee here before we start our day. Honestly, it was a bit on the expensive side, I guess what I was buying is the experience and the photoshoot on top of the actual coffee price. Hehehehe. I am not complaining I am just merely stating a fact. I had fun, and I loved the cutesy bottle and their tissue have Brown print!

We then rode the Metro going to Dongjing Station. I really liked the idea of riding the train this time without our luggages! I think we had two short rides and then when we transferred to Line 6, I slept. I was not feeling too well that day.

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Upon reaching Dongjing Station, it was already time for lunch. There were this food stalls outside of the station. We decided to try this crepe-and-pancake-like food that they sell. I bought the one with chicken, and tell her not to put vegetable on my food. I liked it, in fact I came back for another one. This was just RMB7 a piece. We also decided to buy these big strawberries (they were yummy too!).

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like a crepe for RMB7 per piece

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RMB20 per kilo. Yummy!

After filling up our stomachs, we were all set to commute going to Zhujiajiao Water Towns. This was where we felt how challenging it is to communicate with them, and how important for people to use other resources if Google is not available. But this was also when we believed more in the good in strangers.

We didn’t know what bus to ride going to Zhujiajiao, and the taxi drivers were hovering at us like vultures while we were trying to figure out what bus to ride. We tried asking people in the bus stop but none of them can speak English. There were some who tried to help even if we cannot understand them, but they tried. We went back to the Metro Station, hoping that somebody can help us there. We returned to the bus station to wait, and hope that someone can help us. Then a lady and a guy (they don’t know each other) who can speak English was able to tell us, that we come with them, since they would be riding the same bus as we. So we did. Unfortunately, we were standing, I was really dizzy and my headache was starting to feel like a migraine. So upon alighting somewhere in Zhujiajiao (which we were not sure if we got off at the right place), I drank Advil and tried to calm my nerves.

Funny side story. Pagkababa namin ng bus, nasira ung swelas ng boots ko, imagine it laughing at us. hahahaha, medyo mahirap maglakad. So, una sa agenda namin is to look for a glue or mala-might bond na pandikit. May nakita naman kami. We were really laughing hard, akala nga ata ni Nanay tindera dun siya pinagtatawanan namin, pero when we showed her my boots and what we need, she understand and nakikitawa na din sya. buti me tinda sya. Nilagyan na namin ni Yanyan ung boots, ewan ko kung bakit dun na lang kami basta sumalampak ng upo sa ipinaunang lugar na nakita naming pedeng upuan, tapos narealize namin na nakahambalang pala kami sa daanan. hahahaha. I swear, nakalimutan ko ang sakit ng ulo ko kakatawa sa kalokohan namin.

While Yanyan and I tried to fix my boots, Tintin walked around to ask for directions. Apparently, we got off at the right stop, we just needed to walk to go to Zhujiajiao Water Villages.

Since it was a Sunday, the place was crowded, we just go on with the flow of people. Stopping every now and then for pictures.

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Street leading to the Zhujiajiao Water Town proper.

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View from the other side of the river

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Their version of gondola.

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One of the alleys of Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, swarming with tourists and locals alike.

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Crossing Fangsheng Bridge.

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A view while crossing one of their bridges.

After some time, we got tired and decided to head back to the city. We went to their bus terminal, and rode the bus that would take us to People Square. I was really tired that I immediately fell asleep.

We got off at People Square and walked around the area. We found this park where there was a fountain and took pictures. After some discussions on where were we going to eat, it was decided that we will go home at Xintiandi.

We tried our best to find someplace to eat, but it was a tad late that even Mystic South was already close. We ended up eating at Simply Thai.

Want to read more about the Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, visit https://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/zhujiajiao.htm their site is very helpful as well.

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Shanghai Trip 2017: Chapter 3

Maglev ride, Metro ride, Shanghai Financial District, Park Hyatt, IFC Mall, Xintiandi

We didn’t have anything definite planned for Day One, since we would be dragging our suitcases when we roam around. We tried to do some of the 10 things mentioned in http://www.chinahighlights.com/shanghai/top-things-to-do.htm

First on the list was the Maglev ride (http://www.chinahighlights.com/shanghai/transportation/maglev-train.htm), so we did.

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Inside Maglev, not too crowded in the morning. And their train is clean.

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This was the fastest that I was able to capture on cam, but it could go as fast as 430km/h

We waited for the first trip which is at 7:05am. We purchased a RMB40 (Yuan) one-way ticket going to Longyang Road (there was a discount since, our arrival was the same date of our Maglev journey). Their train is spacious and clean. And we waited for the full speed by looking at those screens that flashes the current speed of the train. It felt like riding a rollercoaster, especially when it turns. We alighted at Longyang Road Station, to transfer to their Metro train.

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At Longyang Road Station

When we were transferring to Metro, that’s the first time I got to feel how cold it was outside. I was “brrrrr… anglamig!”. We bought our Metro card for 50 Yuan which is actually 20 Yuan for the card and 30 Yuan load. Their train stations were equipped with xray machines, so imagine how hassle it was for us every time because of our suitcases.

We checked out the map of METRO for us to go to Shanghai World Financial Center. We were thankful that there are English names available. Their train system is as efficient as Singapore’s. We were able to find our way to Dongchang Road station. Then, 15 minute walk going to the Observatory. We made a mistake of going to the basement for the elevator access to the observatory.  We immediately trace our way back to Park Hyatt since what we wanted was to actually have coffee and breakfast with a view.

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Before starting our 15 minute walk to Shanghai World Financial Center from Dongchang Road Station.

We went to 91st floor as suggested in http://www.chinahighlights.com/shanghai/attraction/shanghai-world-financial-center.htm but they were serving buffet breakfast and we were not that hungry for a buffet. The manager recommended that we should try and have coffee at The Pantry at 87th floor, we went down and greeted by this nice English-speaking manager. She even let us kept our luggage in the concierge.

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Breakfast with this magnificent view of the city.

We had French Toast and Banana Caramel Pancake and hot chocolate. I loved their Hot Chocolate, it was just delish! The place was exquisite, with the sosyal brekkie and the magnificent view of the city, I must say this was the way to start a vacation.

Park Hyatt also have a Free WiFi with access to your usual SocNet sites such as FB, Twitter, Instagram et al.

As much as we wanted to just spend the rest of our trip there, of course we cannot, so after staying there for almost 2 hours we decided to leave. Dragging our suitcases, regretfully, we left the place. We navigated their walkway, stopping every now to appreciate the cityscape and to have our pictures taken.

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Along their walkway

We also visited the IFC Mall, which we explored the roof deck. Surprisingly, their roof deck doesn’t have much shops/cafes yet, we were able to peruse the place for some photo shoot of our OOTDs.

It was almost noon, and it’s time to check into our home. We needed to dump our suitcases and change our clothes anyway. We rode the Metro Line 10 going to Xintiandi.

I immediately fell in love with Fuxing (M) Rd. with all those bare trees on both sides of the street, and all those vintage feel structures. It felt like I was walking in a movie set.

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Fuxing (M) Road. Isn’t she lovely?

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Crossing my favorite road in Shanghai. Thanks @prettytin for this picture.

Tintin booked our “home” from www.airbnb.com.  She found this nice, clean, spacious and it was in a very convenient location, near Xintiandi.

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This was where Yanyan and I slept.

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Sala.

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Mini kitchen and Dining Area.

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The Loft. Tintin’s bed

While roaming around Xintiandi, we were also scouting where we can have our dinner.

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Xingye Road. Can’t get enough of the bare trees.

Tintin showed us her list of possible restaurants to try.

We decided to try Mystic South Yunnan Ethnic Cuisine, since, we were just near the place. It was our first time to dine there so we were apprehensive on how much our dinner will cost us. However, upon ordering their bestsellers, which were both delish and affordable, we decided that we already loved the place. We loved it so much we had dinner there the following nights, except for the second night because they were already closed when we arrived.

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On the Table: the Sisters and the Bestseller.

 

**Please also visit Tintin’s blog: http://prettytin.blogspot.com/ for a better and less hyper version of our story hahahaha.


Shanghai Trip 2017: Chapter 2

Airports. Here and There.

There’s the usual hustle of paying travel tax and checking in, then dinner. I really don’t know why but every time I am at the immigration section, I get so nervous. Good thing the immigration officer didn’t ask much, in fact, I already forgot what he asked.

We boarded the plane and went to our respective seats. Yanyan was seated five seats away from me and Tintin, so we didn’t talk much. I was so sleepy anyway. I think I was already sleeping even before the plane took off.

Next thing I knew, we are already landing in Pudong International Airport, one of the two international airports in Shanghai. We took our sweet time in getting out. After getting our luggage, we went to the waiting area to scout for a place to eat, charge our phones, and sleep.  The first trip of Maglev from the airport was at a little pass 7am so, we have at least 4 hours of nothing to do.

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Not all are my suitcases. For photo purposes lang. Mine is my usual backpack and the red-covered luggage.

We decided to wait at Burger King, since it was the only fast food opened where we can at least eat and stay. All the tables were occupied by sleeping people or those that were just charging their gadgets, good thing that the adjacent restaurant also has some people who ate their order from Burger King, while there were some more people sleeping. We found a clean table and camped there. We were able to nap and charge our gadgets.


Shanghai Trip 2017: Prologue and Chapter 1

What will you do if you happen to win a roundtrip airplane tickets for two to a country which you need to apply for a visa?

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The Announcement of the winner in http://www.ironwulf.net

Thank Ferdz of Ironwulf, AirAsia for the tickets, and your friend, for telling you about the contest, then ask her to come with you and take the risk to apply for a visa, a Chinese visa.

That’s basically what I did when I found out that I won the contest. And I really am grateful that I did:

One, it pushed me to finally try and apply for a visa. Ha! Di na lang ung mga walang visa ang pede kong palang puntahan!

Two, finally experienced a winter season, and I can wear those OOTDs that I can only see in movies.

Chapter 1. VISA APPLICATION and OOTD PREPARATIONS.

We decided to seek assistance from ROYAL CLASS TRAVEL AND TOURS INC., an agency that Diane knows, this made the process a little bit easier. They told us what requirements to prepare aside from those indicated in the Chinese embassy website. They were also the one who brought our requirements and picked up our passports from the embassy.

Requirements are as follows:

  1. Passport. It should be valid and not expiring in the next 6 months.
    • Upon submission, make sure to have the first four pages photocopied. I even photocopied those pages with stamps.
  2. Old Passport. This will serve as an additional proof that you are well-traveled and you are coming back here in the Philippines.
    • I also had the pages photocopied, just in case.
  3. Certificate of Employment. Don’t forget to also provide a photocopy of this.
  4. Latest Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source. Form 2307. Since, I am a contractual employee, I submitted for this one. If you are a regular employee, you have to submit Form 2317. Certificate of Income Tax Return.
  5. Bank Certificate and Bank Statement of Account (for the last 6 months)
    • If your bank is BPI like me, they would only provide you the last 3 months immediately. But since what you need is 6 months, allot at least 7 banking days for them to provide it to you.
    • When requesting for Bank Certificate, you need to pay PhP100, they will also issue a receipt for this. This is also needed to be submitted to the embassy.
  6. Valid IDs. Provide a photocopy.
  7. Copy of your SSS Contributions. This is readily available in your sss account online, just print a copy. This is just an additional requirement by the agency that shall serve as a supporting document when needed.
  8. ID Pictures. Bring a sample of the application form found in the website to get the actual size required.
  9. Printed Application Form. Fill up, Print and don’t forget to sign the application form that can be found in the Chinese embassy website.
    • Be prepared of your trip itinerary, flight and accommodation details.
  10. PhP1400.00 is the visa processing fee in the embassy, plus the fee that you need to pay the agency. In our case, we paid a total of PhP 2800.00 for the visa and agency fees.

Then we waited. Usual processing is just 4 working days, but since we passed our requirements before the Chinese New Year, we waited longer.

Finally, when we got our passports with visas, I started planning my OOTDs. I have been tracking the weather in Shanghai, and boy, it was cold! I even saw one night that it snowed there. I got a little panicky with the clothes that I needed. I have to wear the proper attires in order to survive the cold.

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My First Ever Visa in my Passport

My friends, the sisters are nothing but helpful. They lend me a pair of boots and some winter clothes. They gave me pointers on what kind of clothes/coats to borrow/buy. In my mind’s eye, I already have an idea how I want me to look like, I just have doubts if I can survive the cold with those get ups.


wishlist (updated)

I created a wishlist last December 2010, and I decided to update it since, the year is almost half-way through.

1. Work. Then eventually, work abroad (eg. Singapore). – I didn’t really succeed in finding work in Singapore, but I happened to experience a “part-time” gig as a web tester.

2. Cruise.

3. Go to Bora on ber-months. – As of December last year, KZBP already managed to book us a ticket to Boracay for November. I really hope that pushes through.

4. Out-of-Town Trip with Mommy and the Family.

5. Learn and Get a License to Drive (mainstay of my list since, 2006)

6. Learn how to ride a bike (another one of my list mainstay since 2006).

7. Starbucks Planner for 2011 Thanks to KZBP, CGT, MV, and TM.

8. Bible. The easy to understand version. Thanks KZBP! mwah!

9. Another cheap phone I can use.

10. ClimbHad that Pulag Climb courtesy of KZBP and CGT last February.

11. A bookset of Harry Potter.

12. Another pair of flat shoes.

13. A couple of Office Attires. A couple of Slacks, and a couple of presentable blouses.Courtesy of Mommy before I left for Singapore last March.

14. DVD set of Charmed. Not necessarily original copy, as long as it’s complete.

15. DVD set of Gilmore Girls. Not necessarily original copy, as long as it’s complete.

16. Save up. (a permanent mainstay of my list since forever!)

17. Continue with my “cooking”.

18. Baking and Cooking utensils and equipments.

19. New Hiking Shoes.

20. TV. A big flat screen TV.

21. Read a book per month.
(January – Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong
February – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson) – I already lost track of the months I’ve read what book, but so far, I am keeping up with this.

22. Write more. Blog more.

23. Be better in English.

24. DVD of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

25. a water/shock/dust proof na point and shoot camera.

26. My Own Laptop.

27. Revisit Singapore, Hongkong, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam. – revisited Singapore last March

28. Visit Batanes. And some more provinces in Visayas and Mindanao.

29. Surf!!! (with in-action astig-looking Pictures!)

30. Another external hard drive.

31. Learn to Say NO.

32. Visit a new place here in the Philippines.

33. Visit a new country.

34. Lose weight.

35. Forgive and Let Go.

36. Appreciate More. Complain Less.

37. Be Patient and Cool.

38. Sleep and Wake Up Early.

39. Take more pictures.

40. Go home early. Don’t create unnecessary galas.

41. Less Starbucks.

42. Movie nights should only be maximum of twice a month.

43. Schedule a date with Mommy at least twice a month.

44. NO BOYS or any activity related to that for a year (started since October 8, 2010).

45. iPAD or iTOUCH.

46. A box of crayons. The one with so many colors.

47. A box of color pencils. The one by Faber Castell with so many colors.

48. Printed and Framed Collage of Pictures of me and my friends.

49. Big, Sossy Looking Picture Frames.

50. A gift certificate or sponsor to print my “best shots” so, I can framed them.

51. Another ream of colored papers.

52. Write Poems again.

53. Draw Again.

54. Pray More.

55. Smile More.

56. Less Emo-attacks.

57. A new pair of Jeans.

58. Be more Friendly.

59. A Big Tumbler from Starbucks.

60. Learn how to ride a Skateboard.

61. Tita Be will be better.

62. A pair of Knee-High Boots. (This is my wishlist, shut up haha!)

63. Participate in a Medical Mission.

64. Participate in a Tree Planting activity.

65. Visit Indonesia.


The Other Side

After almost 5 years, I found myself willing to be reunited again with Mt. Pulag. But of course, with the help (morally, financially and “clothing”-ly) of CGT and KZBP.

Prior to the actual climb, there were already been warnings (even read in a newspaper) that it will be very cold and there is a slim chance of witnessing the sunrise that Mt. Pulag is known for. So, honestly, my expectation (to see again the sunrise) is at the minimum bordering to none.

What came as a surprise is the sunset that we were able to witness. It was like a forest fire from afar. The fog didn’t even diminish the richness of its color.

Sunset of Mt. Pulag

Another thing is the night sky of Mt. Pulag. It was, as I’ve seen before, still beyond words. The stars are indeed like scattered diamonds in the sky. And, by the way, I had a small surprise from God. He sent me a wishing star. 🙂

Oh, did I mention that it was really cold? The temperature there dropped as low as -2 degrees. It was crazy cold. The cold made me crazy. hahaha.

As we trekked going to summit (while fooling ourselves that somehow the sunrise would make a surprise appearance) it was raining (or was it drizzling?) And when we reached the summit, we just stayed in a corner (if you can call it a corner) hiding amongst the tall grass. We (at least our small group) slept the cold away.

But despite of it all, I can say that, this trip had been fun, memorable and enjoyable. What they say is true, the destination is just a bonus. It’s the company we keep and the journey that what counts the most.

To These Friends, I am Most Thankful For.

Dear Lord, For You have loved me so dearly that I feel so blessed. For these gifts of friendship and wonders of nature, I am forever grateful for. I love You. Amen.


its the climb

My friends and I are scheduled for a climb this weekend at Mt. Pulag. I haven’t reach that part where I am excited. 😀

I don’t think it’s time yet.

For now, I am anxious for Friday to come. There are still a lot to prepare. I don’t think I have enough training, and frankly, my body is no longer up to any of it. I still have to pack (which I should be doing now, but I preferred blogging over it.) And of course, my financial concerns is like a big gray cloud over my head.

But aside from that, I am so looking forward to this climb. After almost 5 years, I finally get to be reunited with my dream mountain again and once again, I get to share the experience with (almost) the same people as 5 years ago.

I hope that it won’t rain and we, once again. witness the sunrise.

So for now, lets put these in my trusty backpack:

a. 2 Bonnets (one of which, I cannot find)
b. 2 skin tight sandos (not the usual cotton kind)
c. a tube dress
d. 2 pairs of socks (I am still looking for an additional pair)
e. gloves
f. my sweatshirt
g. my Tinkerbell T-shirt
h. a scarf
i. a bonnet with ear muffs (which the vendors in Baguio call mufflers)
j. 3.5 liters of water (I am considering adding 2 more liters)
k. another shirt
l. a jacket I borrowed from my sis
m. a jogging pants (I think I will be wearing this one on Friday)
n. malong
o. sarong
p. some trail food

I think that’s basically it. 😀 I am still thinking of what should I wear on our trek up on the first day. I basically have an idea what I would be wearing at the summit (which is the same set of clothes that I’d be wearing on the trek going down).

blogging about all of this made me a little excited 😀 hehehe.