Camille Blogs a Bit

Writing about design, technology, maybe philosophy, and daily living (in Singapore)

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Category: Adventures (page 2 of 5)

Corregidor Island Daytrip with Charlie

Charlie and I were looking for a place to visit that isn’t too far from Manila (basically, something we can do in a day). He ended up treating me to Corregidor Island for my birthday last December. There’s only one tourist company in charge of visits to the island: Sun Cruises Philippines.

The PhP 2,300 package includes:

  • the boat ride to the island and back to Manila
  • a simple buffet lunch
  • tour guide and bus on the island

We paid an extra PhP 200 each for the light show, which is pretty interesting (it’s not like we’re coming back soon anytime anyway so we thought that we might as well watch it too).

Corregidor Island, December 2013

The place is very clean compared to Manila, and the tour guides say the same thing so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out if you’re not in the same group. You can’t always go inside the ruins because some of them are pretty dangerous, but some areas are explorable. The guide gives you around 10-15 minutes per area to go around and take photos. The view was great, and I think around this time is the perfect season to visit because it was sunny and quite cold at the same time.

Apparently, if they have Japanese tourists, they usually group them separately and they get a different backlog of history (mainly something that isn’t offensive to the Japanese). Occasionally though, Japanese tourists get mixed with everyone else and our tour guide shared an experience when one of them apologized to her profusely because they don’t get taught that version of history in Japan (with the war atrocities done to the Filipinos and Americans in WWII).

I’ve actually been to the island before, when I was a little girl, but it was still a pleasant experience to revisit the areas because I hardly remember them.

shame at feeling bourgeois

I was supposed to go to a client meeting today, and the building was somewhere around Chino Roces Avenue. With the usual Makati traffic, it took me an hour and a half to get there from Eastwood. It was the first time I’ve ever gone to Chino Roces, and I had to get dropped off at where I thought the building was, based on Nokia’s Maps and Google Maps.

When I went down though, it didn’t seem to be the right building number, and I was starting to feel a little anxious.

It’s ridiculous, because I’m 23 and an adult, I told myself, and it wasn’t like I haven’t gone outside to unfamiliar places before. I mean, I’ve been perfectly okay taking the train and the jeep from time to time, even going to places like Binondo and Intramuros, but for some reason Chino Roces felt very old and dirty urban, less claustrophobic than Binondo but also unfamiliar. There were so many jeep, so much traffic, too narrow roads, and nearby empty, deteriorating buildings among other things. It was making me extremely nervous, and I was glad I had a Nokia for a phone or else I felt like trying to contact someone out in the wild would’ve gotten my phone snatched.

I tried to be brave though. Man up, I told myself. So I tried to look for the building and walked around a little. Even canceled my earlier call to get picked up to see if I can walk further on ahead and maybe I’ll find the right place.

The signs were terribly placed, and I could hardly see the address of the buildings.

I felt completely out-of-place, lost, and a sure target for anyone who’s looking to mug a stupid-looking person.

By the time I reached the end of the street and still couldn’t find the place, I gave up and decided to go home. I was getting extremely anxious, which was a tendency I’ve unfortunately developed two years ago. I asked to get picked up from the gas station that I ended up in.

Aside from the anxiety though, I felt disappointed in myself for feeling scared. I don’t know. It just felt like I shouldn’t have been scared of the place because it’s not like it was that scary, even if it were really dirty and claustrophobic? I was used to the wide, newer streets of High Street in Taguig, of the pedestrian-friendly sidewalks of Makati CBD, and the less deteriorated look of Ortigas. I’m not rich. I’m middle class and I’m not new to a bit of grime, but why was being there and trying to find my way in one of the cities of Manila scaring the shit out of me? It just felt wrong that I considered the place dubious and dangerous when maybe it’s just as ‘normal’ as any other city in Manila.

Perhaps next time I’ll be braver. 🙁

End-of-the-year Tagaytay Datetrip

I’ve been wanting to get out of the city for a long time now, and I’ve honestly been feeling sick getting cooped up in the middle of all these buildings and of everything familiar. I confessed to Charlie that I wanted to just get a ticket to somewhere and then fly out spontaneously, without plans and with no warnings. After all, despite my tendency to plan every little thing, from the length of time to get from one place to another to a list of things I could possibly do in a place, I still haven’t lost my moments of impulsiveness. It gets worse when I get antsy or restless or I’m sad or angry or depressed over some things (like a friendship issue I argued with Charlie the other day).

Charlie knows how I feel about these things (and how to cheer me up, I guess), so he said that maybe I should take a day off and we can have that day-trip (date-trip!) to Tagaytay (or Manila, but I said Manila is still too much of a “city” for me). Tagaytay isn’t a beach or a plane ride to somewhere, but it’s not like we could go abroad (maybe next time, because I’m also the type of person who’d just love to get at ticket for a trip that’s a few days away without anything much planned except for a specific destination or two I’d try to figure my way to. I’m thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to impulsively book a flight to Thailand (Bangkok) or HK or Singapore a few days or a week before, since I did that when I went to Phuket! No reservations and everything. And I got conned, but that’s a story for a different day and a lesson never to be repeated again!).

So we took off on a small “adventure”. We said we’d have lunch at Sonya’s Garden (whose website needs some major revamping IMHO),  without reservations (and at this time of the year, when everyone’s going on vacations and trips! Basically we’re in a “come what may” mode), and then just chill in Tagaytay, wherever we end up going.

You know it’s when you can spend 12+ hours together with one other person, mostly stuck in the car, but you still enjoy talking and making jokes and listening to a podcast and getting lost but still end up feeling like you just had the best trip ever that you realize, well, you probably make a good couple.  Read more

Climbing walls again

…climbing the wall of laziness!

trying, trying!

It’s been too long since I last went wall climbing. The last time was high school, I think. Today was a chance to start getting into something to counter all the weight-gaining, except well, we ended up filling ourselves with Banapple afterward.

fettucini juliana at Banapple, Charlie's favorite

Still, not bad for a start. We’ll try to see how far we’d get with wall climbing, especially because I need a sport to get into. And boxing’s too weak for Charlie, but I just can’t do Yaw Yan.

My life is like a pack of Fruit Bowl Jelly Belly

my life is like Fruit Bowl Jelly Belly: you wouldn't know what you'll get, but they're all sweet anyway.

(Posting that picture made me realize I forgot that pack of Jelly Belly somewhere yesterday, even though I haven’t even finished half of it. Oh well. Nothing will dampen the loveliness of my day — and night!)

I was with Charlie the whole day yesterday, and both of us felt that it was such an amazing day even though we mostly ate, walked around, talked, laughed, and admired exhibits. It was a day of food tripping, window shopping, notebook shopping, and museum-going. (So, just as a warning: this is the longest post on a date I’ve ever blogged about. Mostly because we did so many things in less than 24 hours together!)

Because of the UPCAT, Charlie arrived at my house pretty late (he got stuck for 30 minutes just trying to take a U-turn in Katipunan), and with a bag of onion rings from Burger King. We left the house as soon as he picked me up because we planned on having lunch at Bonchon Chicken in Greenbelt (why so far away? We were also going to see if Charlie could pick up his VANS shoes that he won from the We Love Post 2nd Anniversary Party. Unfortunately, they said they weren’t ready yet, but we pushed through with our museum date + everything else date anyway). We just wanted to know what the fuss was all about when it came to Bonchon Chicken since EVERYONE in my lil’ circle o’planet was singing the restaurant odes and praises.


The NBI Nightmare

I had to get an NBI clearance for employment so I went with Rian on this one-day adventure. It’s so effing surreal, lining up at 3am in the morning for a government-issued certificate sounds so exaggerated until you’ve experienced it yourself. I’m not kidding. I’ve heard a few people have a similar experience (someone who lined up at 2am and finished at 11am), and as for ours, we went to the nearest NBI Clearance Center, which is at Robinsons Metro East, Marcos Highway. Woke up at 2.45am, left the house at 3am, got there in ten minutes and lined up for 11 hours.

people at 3am, lined up to get their NBI clearances

We were the 22nd or 23rd to arrive at the line, and this was right outside of the mall. I have no idea what time the first person arrived, but the guards would say the line starts at 1am. WILD.  Read more