food.travel.photography

Almost, but not quite

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And we’re back in the city.

Our quick escape to Bintan was almost perfect. Rudel and i agreed that in all of our past trips to Indonesia this has been (so far) the best yet.  We loved the hotel we stayed in and i really liked the body massage service at Nirwana’s Recreation Centre.
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We spent most of our morning in this hut bonding. I loved that we were able to talk about a lot of things without being distracted by  the TV or computer.  To be honest though, we were tempted to use our phones. It’s the hardest part to stay away from specially Instagram, Flipboard and FaceBook (yes, in that order!).

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I was really surprised how beautiful the beach in Bintan is. It was almost perfect if not for the tar (black oil) that tainted the place.

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Our almost perfect dinner. It was good but i think the price was just too much, way too expensive! We had these on our last night. If you ever come to this resort, please please do not order any Korean or Italian food. I don’t know why they even have those in their menu. They obviously have no idea how properly to make them  (to be edible at least!). Their Kimchi soup and Spaghetti bolognese was really yuck and grose! Sorry but those are the only adjectives i can think of. I mean if you really want to please your guests and really want them to be back, invest in your chef! Send them in a Korean or Italian cooking school. I’m sure it will be worth the investment. People will come back again and again because one you have a great place and service and second but most important of all you serve the best food. REMEMBER, good food makes people happy. And if they are happy, they won’t mind spending a lot of money.

 

Written by mella

March 7th, 2013 at 11:59 pm

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Here now at Nirwana Gardens

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We are here now at Nirwana Gardens Bintan, Indonesia. Amazingly, I’m able to blog not because of the hotel’s internet connection but through our internet connection at home. Yes, you read it right. I’m connected somehow to our secure internet in Singapore. I don’t know how my genius husband did it but it works!

Anyway, we decided to get away from city life for the weekend. Eating out and watching movies felt like a weekend routine already and it’s the last thing we wanted to do for our 2nd wedding anniversary. I think everyone will agree that this island’s nearness (along with Batam) to Singapore is the main reason why city dwellers prefer going here over Thailand, Malaysia or even Bali.  Going here require’s less effort and that’s what you’re paying for.

It’s our first time at this resort hotel and so far we are enjoying it (except for the food but that’s another story that deserves a separate entry). Their customer service had minor hiccups at first but we forgot all about it as soon as we saw this amazing and relaxing view.

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Forget their lobby. All you need is this view and unlimited sweet and salty fresh air.

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After the stressful process of checking-in we were greeted by this lovely living room. Check out the rattan carpet and reading chair.

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And then we saw our bedroom. So ROMANTIC!

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The TV can be rotated. Hence, you can either watch from your bedroom or  living room. Nice idea eh?

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The bathroom was clean and so spacious. Toilet and shower room were separated. I also love the sliding door.

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His and her sink plus huge mirror!

Can i stay here for a week? For free?

 

 

 

 

Written by mella

March 3rd, 2013 at 12:32 am

Wander Seoul Part1

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I promise myself I would finish these Seoul entries even if it’s 2013 already and the trip happened last year. I’m finishing this. Forgive me for the delay pero sayang naman kung di ko ma-ipost tong pictures di ba?

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One of the great things about Seoul is its super efficient and well maintained subway. It practically runs the entire city. It is extensive and massive compared to the Singapore’s MRT. One of its disadvantage though was that the number of stairs sadly out numbered the escalators. Imagine our poor feet and legs at the end of every day.

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We were surprised to see magazine stalls and vendors of clothes inside the train platform, something you won’t see in Singapore. Amazing that they managed to keep the stations clean and organize.

We thought we were going to missed Seoul’s beautiful autumn colors. It was after all the beginning of winter when we arrived. There was no snow yet. It was freezing cold. Leaves have fallen off the trees and the branches were just waiting to be covered by snow. A depressing site for first time visitors, I know.

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We were lucky enough to have seen this colorful spot in Namsan Park. It was in fact the only place in the city where we saw a glimpse of autumn.

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Of course, it was a great photo op for us. This was taken very early in the morning, sun rays adding more beauty to the place.

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Seoul Tower at Mt. Namsan.

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The trees looked dead but they sure have a unique way of being picturesque.

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At the top of Seoul tower, we got to experience the 360 degree view of the city. From afar, we saw Han river dividing North and South Seoul. Our Korean friend Jerry said that North Seoul is the old city where most middle class families live. The Southern part is the new and modern Seoul. I believe it’s were the famous Gangnam place is located and where the rich and famous hangout, if you must know.  

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How far we were from home.

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Seoul, chaotically organized.

Written by mella

February 27th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

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Annyeonghaseyo!!

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So, I haven’t finish my long and winding posts about our trip to Australia which was almost a year ago to be exact and now I have another set of travel stories to blog about which I doubt I’ll be able to finish before this year ends. Ha!

Anyway, a week ago we went for a short trip to the not so near yet so far city of Seoul in South Korea. It was our first and last major trip this year. We almost didn’t push through because of conflicting schedules but because we’ve been really itching to travel again, we’ve managed to squeezed it in. Thank God!

 

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Upon arriving Incheon Airport, there were 2 things we had to do: 1) buy train tickets from AREX so we can avoid the traffic and get into the city with a breeze and 2) rent a portable Wifi device. We didn’t need to rent a phone anymore to get in touch with our families. All we needed was an Internet connection, Skype, Facebook and of course Instagram.

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This is the WiBro egg counter where we rented our portable internet connection. It only costs us KW40,000 for 5 days of unlimited connection. There only a few dead spots. I was able to watch streaming of Kris TV and Be Careful with My Heart (not that it matters!) with no lag so I guess the speed was okay. 

Beside this counter, is the transport booth. The attendants can help you hire a coach, a taxi and even a limo. They also sell AREX train tickets—on sale at KW 8000 per person (was KW13,000). And that’s not all! If you’re planning to commute while in the city, you can buy T Money in the 7 eleven store arrival area. It is Seoul’s transportation card that can be used in public buses and subways. Don’t you love Incheon Airport already?

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After the 50 minutes train ride, we arrived in Seoul shocked by the freezzzzing weather. We were obviously not prepared—mind, body and seoul hehehe.

Written by mella

December 14th, 2012 at 12:18 am

Last Day in Tasmania Part1

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Our last day in Tasmania was spent in Hobart. It didn’t matter that we were still very tired from the long drive from Launceston. It didn’t matter that what we really liked to do was just sleep all day, watch TV and order room service. It was after all our last day in a beautiful place  and we don’t know when we are going to be back. So we drag our butts out of bed very early in the morning, got our take away coffee from the restaurant in the lobby of our hotel and drove to Sorell Fruit Farm.

Before finally heading to the farm, we (really meant I) decided to have a decent breakfast in the nearby town. A few days of not having rice, made me feel very weak and grumpy. I told my husband that couldn’t take it anymore. I WANT RICE! NOW! So we circled around the town and found ourselves on a small Chinese restaurant. I didn’t have to look at the menu. I ordered fried rice right away which every Chinese restaurant have.

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My first spoonful of it was heaven sent. I felt relieved and happy even though the taste wasn’t really that great (READ: MSG). IT WAS STILL RICE! My husband on the other hand, went to McDonalds and ordered his burger. Sometimes it makes me think, is he really a Filipino? He must have been born in the wrong country.

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After the hefty breakfast, off we went to Sorrel Fruit Farm. Entrance fee is at AUD $12 and that already includes the picking containers.

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Cherries and wide variety of berries were in season!   

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Me, delighted to see an actual cherry tree. I got the pick the fruits too!

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Believe it or not, it was my first time picking strawberries. I know we have this in La Trinidad, Benguet but I’ve never been there (sad, I know).

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Our loot. You couldn’t get any fresher than this! Parang fruit juice commercial lang :p

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After spending a few hours in the fruit farm, we drove back to the city and dropped by the Hobart Royal Botanical Gardens. There we saw locals (half naked men!) sunbathing . The weather was really great that day. Who can blame them?

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The Conservatory. I felt like I was in Splendido and brought back memories of our wedding. I found out that this place is indeed a popular venue for weddings in Hobart.

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The park has beautiful collections of different types of flowers, herbs and trees. I think that this is a perfect place to to think, unwind and read a good book.

Written by mella

November 19th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

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Tamar Valley

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Written by mella

July 9th, 2012 at 10:13 am

All Things Lavender

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Of the many tourist destination in Tasmania, Bridestowe Lavender Estate has got to be our favorite! As we stepped out of the car, we heard the buzzing bees and it they seemed like going crazing over something. And as we turn our heads towards the farm we understood why.

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So pretty! The fields of Lavender was truly a sight to behold—as in WOW!

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Tourists are allowed to stroll through the fields but must avoid walking between rows because bees do not like being disturbed.

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keeping a relax face while praying that the bees won’t bite me hahahahaha

 

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We visited Tasmania around the 2nd week of December and we realized that it was a perfect timing. According to the Bridestow website:

Flowering starts around the middle of November and reaches  full splendor during December and January.  Harvesting for dried flower begins around mid December. Harvesting for oil production and distillation begin in January and continue into February, depending on weather conditions.

 

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Sausage Roll with Tomato and Lavender Relish: We had two orders of this because it was that good! We even bought a jar of the relish from the Visitor Centre as takeaway. And yes, the tomato and lavender combo was surprisingly good!

Written by mella

July 4th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Houses of Launceston

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Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest cities. This was very apparent  with the well-preserved Victorian houses that we saw while roaming around the city. It was my first time to see these type of houses and felt like I was in a different era.

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The sign says it’s a dental clinic. I wonder what it feels like inside while your tooth is being taken out hehehehe…

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Check out the terrace!

 

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Very elaborate wood carvings. It kind of look like the old houses in the Philippines.

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I don’t know what this building is but it’s arch-shape reminded me of my old school way back in elementary.

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and this looks like a mini “castle”

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Written by mella

July 2nd, 2012 at 6:53 pm

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