December 27, 2010

Our little Christmas celebration away from "home".

No words can express how grateful I am to celebrate Christmas with my husband and dearest friends in Singapore. Although, away from our families, love and friendship still made our hearts full - made me forget how much I wanted to go home for Christmas =)






More photos here.

Hope you all had a wonderful and meaningful Christmas! Let's all look forward to an amazing 2011 <3

Photo credits: Josephine Sicad-Minerva

December 07, 2010

Our Europe Dream - Need your Help!

Help us make our Europe tour come true!
  • Go to www.myeuropeandream.com.
  • Look for "Sharing a Dream in Europe" by Vonskie.
  • Click on my dream cloud.
  • Click "Like"! (When my "dream page" opens, it'll be on the upper right portion.)
Pretty please people! Thank you in advance!
Create your own dream too and share the link so I can like it!

The Art of Non-Conformity.

Have you ever thought of doing something unconventional? Something that most people would rather ignore? Something that you think impossible? Something that you are scared of?

I used to think that its impossible for me to travel to places I want to see. Even in my hometown, I was skeptical to visit nearby beaches and islands because they were too expensive for my meager salary. When I moved to Singapore for work, I found myself stuck in a place with less beauty. After less than 1 year, I realized i need to see other places other than this small country. So off I booked my first leisure travel abroad - Phuket, Thailand. That was in 2008.

Two years after and married, I am unstoppable. I've been to places so far listed in my Southeast Asia travel list. Yes, I have a separate travel list for each continents/region and the like :)) And I am still booking flights to my other dream places - islands in the Philippines, few more countries in Asiapac and another continent. 2011 sounds really exciting for me and my bestest travel buddy. We can't wait!

So, how is this related to my title? Because, i used to be the conventional girl. Some of my friends may find me strong in the outside but I am a fearful girl inside. The decision of working abroad was not even a plan more so a dream. I was very much contented with my clerical job and minimum salary back home. Then one day, i realized i need to do something if i want to go to places. So there, I landed in Singapore without a job but an overwhelming faith that I will soon get one. I left my comfort zone even if people told me my job and company was great. I chased independence away from my family even  if i don't have the assurance i'll get a new job in this country.

What I'm trying to say is, you don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to. If you don't decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will probably end up deciding for you. These are some of the philosophies I lived up to and quoted from this guy, Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity. I recently found out that this guy has been doing unconventional things. He wrote a book, traveled the world and shared to people his unconventional ideas. His website is now included in my daily read because he is a genius.

If you want to learn more, subscribe to his email updates and be inspired. As much as I wanted to share more of my non-conforming ideas, i would rather want you to read him first than make a fool of myself  :D.

December 03, 2010

Deals you should not miss.

You know in Facebook how ads are popping up like mushrooms? Yes, there are! From clothes, shoes, bags, spa and even diapers. During one of my lowlight days while checking the site, I came across deal.com.sg. I found out that they give out good deals for resort and cruise packages. I initially thought they are interested with donuts and facials only, apparently they are also interested in travel and relaxation. Cool!

I was fortunate enough to purchase a very good deal for an overnight stay package in Nongsa resorts, Batam Indonesia. It was a perfect treat for our planned weekend getaway with the husband. They reserved this lovely seaview room for us. (sorry for the low-res photo, just copied it from their site).


So how does the purchasing works? They announce the deal before its even open to the public so people will watch out for it. They post the announcement in their facebook account here. Once they open the deal, you are only allowed to purchase it within a specific period of time . So you better be ready! If it gets confirmed, they will send you the voucher with the instruction how to use/make reservations. That easy!

While you busy yourself checking out their latest deal, let me me print my voucher first coz we are going tomorrow :D Weehhh!

November 27, 2010

First time in Bali Indonesia (Day 1)

This is my official travelogue post.

From now on, I will share to you some details of each of our travels. Maybe not the itsy-bitsy details but at least something that could help you if you're planning to visit the places we've been to. I hope my post about our Phuket trip helped you in some ways.

We traveled to Bali, Indonesia last November 2-6, 2010. We booked our tickets I think 2 months or more before our trip so we can avail of the promo from Jetstar Airways. Lucky for us, we were able to purchase a really cheap return ticket. Thank you Jetstar! Normally airfare to Bali is really expensive so it's best to travel during the low season.




Photo credits: Josephine Sicad-Minerva

We planned on booking our hotels once we reach there but the OC-ness in me cannot just allow it :D I secretly researched for cheap hotels, resorts and the best beach nearby. We initially decided to stay near Jimbaran Bay based on other travelers' recommendations so we booked this lovely Udayana Kingfisher Eco Lodge, which we thought was located just 20 minutes from the beach but apparently, it was situated in the mountains. So we decided to stay for just one night and find a place near the beach. Don't get me wrong, the place is really pretty, serene, peaceful and cheap but we found it retreat-ish and way out of the plan, which is to beach-bum :) But if you're looking for a quiet place to relax, this could be a good choice.







Photo credits: Josephine Sicad-Minerva

We arrived in Bali around 4pm and reached our hotel almost 7pm. For our first night, we planned on devouring all the seafood we can afford in the famous Jimbaran Bay. Because we were all too hungry to think logically, we spent around 800,000 Indonesian rupiah for dinner alone. The most expensive dinner of all dinners :D We had Nasi goreng, grilled fish and grilled lobsters :D




Photo credits: Josephine Sicad-Minerva

We spent the rest of the night walking around Jalan Legian in Kuta area in search for another place to stay on our second day. We literally panicked when we saw some of our fave shops along the road: Roxy, Billabong, Ripcurl and more :)) But we have to control ourselves and save the shopping the next day. So if you're planning to stay in Kuta area, prepare yourself for BIG shopping and some dose of self-control.

After hours and hours of walking and riding taxis, we found the place. The Niche Hotel along Jalan Legian saved our feet! We discovered this pretty place while checking corners and alleys because they're not actually located along the road. Their room rate per night is 150 usd 75usd (150 is already for two rooms :P) including breakfast, a bit expensive compared to our first hotel. But location wise, they are perfect for our plan.





Whew! Quite an exhilarating and tiring first night. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the whole experience.

I will be posting more details of the trip soon. Stay tune! :) For now, I'll leave you with this beautiful sunset shot I took at Jimbaran Bay while waiting for our dinner. I love my dependable Lumix FZ28 :))

November 19, 2010

Bali Indonesia in Black & White

Yes! The husband is once again practicing his photography skills :P And recently, he has converted from digital to film. And I bet you, he is loving every bit of it - the thrill, excitement and sometimes dismay :)

I am proudly sharing to you some of my favorite photos from our recent Bali trip shot using his new baby, Voigtlander Bessa R4A.





For more of his photos, visit his flickr stream and new tumblr site.

July 08, 2010

Oil Spill Threat. Sad but it's happening!

Are we doing something about it?
Are you?

I encourage everyone to do their share in helping and supporting coastal clean up not just during oil spill. This may not happen in your place or in beaches where you visit but spreading this information will be very much helpful to those affected.


June 23, 2010

Countdown to Zero - Must Watch!

"The only way to make the world SAFE is to demand ZERO!"




If you have not seen this documentary like I do, please find time to do so.

May 01, 2010

Phi Phi Island & Kata Beach Phuket, Thailand

Our much awaited vacation is confirmed!

I've written previously that on our list this year, Phuket Thailand is a must. Finally, we've managed to fix the date, our leaves, our plane tickets, our itinerary and of course our budget. We've decided to visit the most famous island in Phuket - Phi phi island. Not just island hop but to at least spend a night there. Sounds exciting!

When I plan for a trip, I make sure that I've searched enough information before going. It will usually take me a month or lesser to decide which resort/hotel to stay in. I prepare the itinerary list with all the necessary details such as estimated time arrival, distance, contacts and budget. I know it sounds stiff and unadventurous. But this is my way of making sure we are on the right track especially in terms of possible expenses.

Anyhoo, we've booked this really beautiful resort in Phi Phi - Paradise Pearl Resort. According to travelers' reviews, the location is just perfect for someone who is looking for some relaxation and quiet time in the beach. Although the food is average, the staff and service is worth recommending. It could be quite expensive compared to other resorts in the area but in a place like this, you wouldn't want to compromise on that. Hmm at least for us.

Since we will be spending 3 days for this trip, we planned to visit the beach in the mainland as well. There are a lot of beautiful beaches you can choose from but we or shall I say, I wanted to check out Kata Beach this time. I've been to Patong 2 years back and I was not amused with the beach except for the busy night life. But then again, we are going there to relax. What interests me with Kata is its popularity for surfing. I know I'm not good at it or have not even tried it but I want to see some real life action and May is the best month to witness it. Yes, we are going during the low season, which means big waves are in full blast. But wth? This is vacation so nothing can stop us!

                                                                 
For more information about Phuket, you may want to check out this SITE or better yet, get a copy of Lonely Planet, Phuket Encounter.

April 22, 2010

50 Reasons Why I am (still) in Singapore

Last August 2007, I decided to fly to Singapore to try the life of an overseas worker. Before that, I never imagined myself working abroad moreso in this country. I never even heard about this place until that Flor Contemplacion case. Nevertheless, I made that major decision. Final.

For almost 3 years now, I realized I survived this long. I know the country is not that far from Philippines but living and working away from home is never easy, i tell you! It takes more than one's brave soul to really adjust and get the hang of everything.

Culture shock I was when I first stepped in. I was never used to such a systematic country, kinda "rude" locals, straight-forward colleagues and fast-paced work life. I could say, I adapted well.

Apparently, Singapore is more than all these. CNNGo listed 50 reasons why the country is considered as the World's Greatest City. Among the few are the following:

1. Food capital of the world
Singapore = Food. The city-state dominates the 'net with food blogs where hungry netizens compare, dissect, argue and swap foodie fodder, scouring the island for new tastes. And nearly every conceivable victual from every earthly corner has a home here. Fancy authentic Egyptian Baba Ghanoush? Arab Street's got you covered. Crave something Nigerian besides a scam e-mail? Find it on Verdun Road in Little India. If it's edible and fits on a plate, bowl, banana leaf or sheet of paper, we'll wolf it with zeal. But if you truly want to sample Singapore’s food culture, head to any of the hawker centers in the heartlands -- there’s a huge variety of stalls there at dirt-cheap prices.

2. Green thrives in the big gray city
Singapore's a Garden City, literally. Amid the concrete jungle we call home, there's the Botanical Gardens, HortPark, MacRitchie Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve -- each claiming myriad varieties of flora and fauna. But the most common impression left visitors to Singapore concerns the rows of trees that line roads everywhere, from expressways to suburban streets. It's not just a green facade -- Singapore's a champion of environmental initiatives, from the world's largest CNG refueling station to its first Solar Greenlots for electric vehicles.

3. Greatest living politician
No one in Singapore, regardless of political stripe, has anything but a healthy respect -- perhaps even awe -- for Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. He led Singapore to independence in 1965 and served as its first Prime Minister for 31 years, setting the record as the world's longest-serving Prime Minister. He's the architect of Singapore's present prosperity, laying a foundation of nation-building which has taken Singapore from a sleepy little island to one of Asia's most developed states, despite its small population, limited space and lack of natural resources.

To continue, click here.

While reading this article, I felt at ease to know that I am safe here. Yes, the place is small but how the country transformed to what it has become now is indeed inspiring. I wish my own country and it's leaders could somehow follow their lead.

April 13, 2010

Family's trip to three Asian cities

It's almost Friday! - the day my family's flying to Singapore for their one week vacation. I am excited for them, especially for the father, who will be traveling overseas first time after his work in Saudi. I can't wait!

Since the mother insisted on visiting Kuala Lumpur, I have no choice but to include it in our itinerary and make sure everyday is a day well-spent, both in time and money :D I found a very affordable guesthouse which offers a decent accommodation good enough for an overnight stay. The place is called Anjung KL guesthouse, which is situated in the city and near famous tourist spots. Good thing, they still have available rooms for us inspite of my quite late inquiry. Yahoo!

Honestly, I don't find KL that exciting compared to other Asian cities. Maybe because it's just a cartwheel away from Singapore. But I guess, anyone not staying near the place will be as excited as my mother. I don't want their KL trip to be an all-city tour because I'm sure the brother and father will complain, so for these two hypers, I am booking us an all-day ride in Genting Highland theme park. This is to avoid too much shopping but still enjoy our trip :D

Their next stop is Batam, Indonesia. Yeah, I know, nothing much to see there. But what to do when you have a ninong who works there and offers to pay the whole trip? As the saying goes, "it's an insult to reject an offer". So still, it's part of their hectic schedule. I can only imagine how my father will complain :)

Of course, how can I forget to tour them around Singapore? This is the most exciting part of all because I will be with them for their remaining two days. Their tour will only include Universal Studios, Sentosa and the city. I wish i could bring them to the Singapore zoo or Night safari. I hope we still have the time.

Nevertheless, I am excited as ever!

March 01, 2010

Tips on How to Live to 100

My late grandmother lived until the age of 91. When you look at her physically, you wouldn't believe that she can still carry a one case of beer with her bare hands. She was brought to the hospital only once before she got severely ill because of pneumonia. That for us, was such an accomplishment given one of her children died of high blood pressure while the rest are currently suffering from either diabetes or high cholesterol. I used to believe that these illnesses were purely hereditary but when we found out that my grandma didn't even had any of those, we blamed it to food and lifestyle.

Executivehm.com came up with a list of tips on how to live longer. I thought  our good genes and  healthy living are enough to actually live to 100 but surprisingly, some other things are also important. Click here to read the article.

Travel Lusting: Conquer Asia's Finest

Singapore has very limited public holidays compared to the Philippines. This year they have a total of ten public holidays which usually falls on a weekend (and which is a good thing btw). So far, the Chinese New year has the longest off days, for obvious reasons that the locals celebrate it.

Since last year, i have been counting the public holidays for this year because i claimed and declared that this will be our travel year *big grin*. Actually, i've been doing this declaration two years ago but sadly it didn't happen. I've been to nearby cities in previous years like Johor Bahru Malaysia, Batam Indonesia and Phuket Thailand. But really nothing much to see in these places, except for the amazing Phuket, which to date was still my ultimate beach escapade.

I could say our travel year started with a blast. We kicked off with a trip to Boracay Island last January 1 for our honeymoon. Then followed by two trips to Malaysia for our first summer getaway at Rawa Island and Chinese new year vacay in Melaka. On April, my family will be coming over to Singapore for a one week visit and as promised to my mother, we will be going to Kuala Lumpur for a weekend trip. So far, so good. God is awesome indeed!

But i'm not finish travel lusting just yet. It's still March and there are seven more long weekends before Christmas. In my list, these are the following places to visit this year:

1. Phuket or Krabi Thailand - i wanted to visit this place every year actually. and the husband has not set foot on any of these. we are planning to schedule our trip hopefully this May or not on September. it's not advisable to go there on the rainy season of June to August because the waves will scare you big time.

2. Bali Indonesia - this is a must on August hihi. i am deliriously checking budget airlines for cheap air fares.but i cannot book instantly yet. i hope the airline i am eyeing at will still have the promo fare before end of this week. *crossing fingers and toes*

3. Hanoi Vietnam & Halong Bay - for soo long, i wanted to visit Vietnam too and try on one of the cruises at Halong Bay. i hope our budget will permit us to visit this place this year.

4. Hong Kong - we initially planned to go there on my birthday this June but the husband's family is coming over so we have to postpone it. i am hoping we can schedule the trip on December, in time for our one year wedding anniversary. it would be nice to celebrate it during the winter season. :D

5. Philippine Beaches - we are going home to Cebu for a five-day vacation this July. as a self-acclaimed beach bum, i was listing in my head the beaches/islands i wanted to visit - Siargao, El Nido, Caramoan, Pagudpud, Bantayan, Pandanon, Batangas, Zambales, and Siquijor. but what can you do with five days minus one for my bff's church wedding and minus two days for family get together? i can't even visit at least one on the list. sadly. as a consolation though, the husband told me we can visit the Bais sandbar while in Alegria. good enough for me. i will just try some other time to visit those in my list, hopefully on January next year :)

If we will be blessed with more income and resources, I hope to visit Japan, Australia, Dublin, Bangkok, Langkawi, Cambodia, and China. :D  If not, then they will occupy my list for next year :D. I fervently hope we could pull it through our travel year.

They say "dreams when written, do come true". Calling Mr. Universe! Hear me! =D

February 22, 2010

Working in Singapore

I have been asked a million times about how to get a job in Singapore and somehow i ran out of words to say. while most of my family and friends know that I am working in recruitment, most of them does not know that I am only working in IT recruitment which is totally different from doing HR tasks. with the growing number of Filipinos looking for better opportunities in Singapore, I sometimes wish I have various open positions on hand so I  can just consider their applications anytime. but like any other life or career changing decisions, it takes hard work to reach one's goals.


The least I can do is share some of the most commonly used websites by recruiters. You can sign up and upload your resumes in these job sites and from there start your applications.


1. www.monster.com.sg


2. www.jobsdb.com.sg


3. www.linkedin.com


4. http://worksingapore.com/

So far, these are the sites we've been using. I hope these helps. In case, you know any other websites, feel free to share so I can update the list.

God bless!

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