What I Ate: Jollibee

November 17, 2017 Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

We found a Jollibee walking fistance from our hotel in Cebu. A has never had Jollibee food before so I made him walk to the restaurant with me. I was so excited!!! 

Jollibee is a popular fast food chain much like Mcdonald's. They have their own mascot and they have the popular chicken joy (fried chicken) and jolly spaghetti.

Even the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau knows the first stop when you arrive in the Philippines is Jollibee! I was so happy when I saw all the photos of him interacting with staff and other patron's inside Jollibee. He's so nice and friendly. He is definitely popular in the Philippines.
I ordered the two most famous dishes in their menu. The jolly spaghetti is Filipino style pasta. It has a sweet tomato sauce. If you're not used to eating it then it will taste weird. But growing up and going to birthday parties in the Philippines - this is a staple to any party.
A ordered the burger steak with rice and spring rolls. It was not that great. He ended up stealing my food instead. 

I am waiting for Jollibee to open a restaurant in Toronto. I've been hearing rumors of the opening this year but that hasn't happened. I hope next year we will finally have one but I'm sure the line will be very long as many Filipinos will be there longing for nostalgia and a taste of home. 
I just hope it will taste the same.

15 Random Obervations of Hong Kong

November 14, 2017 Hong Kong

It was my first time visiting Hong Kong and here are my random observations.
You can read about my random observations series here.

1. Great transportation. The MTR is clean and efficient. 
2. They use barriers for passengers for the MTR trains.
3. They use bamboo poles on construction sites.
4. No one ever gives out napkins so you have to carry around your own tissues.
5. The stores will sell winter clothes in 30 degree weather.
6. They have double decker street cars.
7. Watch out for air conditioner drip of water while you are walking on sidewalks.
8. And everyone blasts the air conditioner so you will freeze when you go inside buildings.
9. Recycling and garbage pick up happens at night.
10. Expensive real estate.
11. Cheap food though.
12. Consists of many islands.
13. Cheap taxi's.
14. Awesome shopping and you can go to night markets as well.
15. The milk tea is amazing!!!

Balicasag Island

November 7, 2017 Panglao, Bohol, Philippines

Part of our boat tour was stopping at Balicasag Island for snorkeling. We decided to bring our own snorkels for the tour. You can also rent it there but honestly, it's so cheap to buy it in Panglao if you forget to bring your own from home.
I bought mine at Pacifica Dive shop. It was close to our hotel and the staff there were so friendly and helpful. They took the time to help me shop and also gave me a discount.
 All the little boats gathering on the snorkeling spot

Our boat docked at the island and we were greeted by the locals. Our captain dropped us off at the restaurant and you can chose to order food or just use the restaurant to relax. They also have change rooms/washrooms for tourists.  

The food and drinks at the restaurant is more expensive so bringing your own food/snacks comes in handy if you want to save some money.

I talked to my snorkeling guide in Tagalog and he was able to tell me about the island. He said that the population of the island is about 1,000 and they have 120 homes. Electricity only works a couple of hours a day. 
They make money by doing tours, selling food and pearl jewellery. His wife was one of the vendors for pearls and I bought earrings from her.
There was a lot of little kids on the island and I had a bag of chocolates with me that I gave away. They were so cute and polite. I wish I had more chocolates and other toys to give them. If I had known then I would have been more prepared. 

Will definitely bring more things for the kids next time I go there.
Our guide took us snorkeling using a little wooden boat. We had 5 people on that boat including our guide. I asked for a life jacket because I'm not the best swimmer. 

It was really crowded on the reef that we went to. Our guide was the best and helped me move around because we were in a sea of people literally. He took me around and I was a bit nervous at first but I started enjoying snorkeling. I trusted him with my life. Plus I was also wearing a life jacket, haha.
My partner was the one taking pictures of me. 

I was really happy to see the corals and all the fish. I was expecting more school of fish but maybe they got scared of all the tourists there (including us). Mmm..makes me want to learn how to dive. Should I do it? 
 In love with this dog. So sweet! This dog was acting like he doesn't know me in this picture (which is like my bf, but totally in love with me ;) )

After over an hour, we went back to the island. You also have the option of paying extra to see the turtles on the island. We decided to just walk around the island before going back to our boat.

Bohol boat tour

October 24, 2017 Alona Beach, Bohol, Philippines

There is no shortage of vendors trying to sell boat tours in Alona beach. Every time we stepped outside our hotel, every person will try to get us to sign up for a tour. We found Julius who was the nicest and most polite out of everyone I talked to. 

We got along very well so I decided to give him my business and he gave me a discount for our tour. I paid ₱600 pesos per person for the tour. We had wake up really early because Julius was going to pick us up.
He was very prompt and met us at our hotel lobby. When we got outside, I was expecting a car but I saw his scooter. I was shaking my head because there is no way we were all going to fit into that scooter but we did! Oh my god, it was hilarious! 

I was so scared but Julius is a pro and we made it in one piece at the beach. 

We had a bit of time before the boat left for our tour as we were waiting for more people to show up so we bought snacks, bread, and water. It really came in handy later on.
Also, if you have a dry bag then use it for this trip. We bought one the night before so we can store change of clothes, camera, and any valuables in a dry bag. Some people had plastic bags but I didn't trust those especially when it started raining really hard and we all got wet.
We had 12 people on our boat plus the captain and his assistant. And of course you can do a private tour but for the 2 of us, it just didn't make sense. If you have a larger group then it will be cheaper if you book a whole boat.
Alona beach was packed with boats all going on different tours. The first thing we did was dolphin watching. I did see a lot but I was so slow in taking a photo. 

But look at those dolphins though. 
So nice to see this so early in the morning. It was definitely worth waking up for.
And the our first stop was Balicasag Island. More on that on my next post.

Dumuluan Beach, Panglao

October 18, 2017 Panglao Island, Panglao, Bohol, Philippines

We asked our favourite restaurant crew which beach to go to that's quieter. They told us to go to Dumuluan beach. As much as I like Alona, it was way too crowded. And I can't get any peace there at all. It's always loud and they have too many vendors that will harass you on the beach.
We took a tricycle (tuk tuk) to take us to Dumuluan beach. It was too far to walk.

It was much better there!
It was peaceful and the beach was clean! And no vendors to keep following you around.

You can just relax, swim, walk, whatever you want.
We paid ₱25 peso entrance fee and had the freedom to walk around the beach. They have huts that you can rent if you want to have a picnic. We just opted to sit on the beach to swim and snorkel.
When we decided to take a walk, we saw resorts around the beach area. I actually like the resorts here. Hoping to stay here next time to avoid the touristy areas. If you want to truly relax, come to this part of Panglao island. 
When we got hungry, we went back to the huts where they have a restaurant and ordered food/drinks. I did not expect the pancit (noodles) to be that big. Uh oh.
This pancit was good for 4 people but I guess we were so hungry after swimming that we ate everything.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to order something grilled. I love grilled meat for lunch when I'm on vacation especially when I'm on the beach.
BBQ pork! This was so cheap and sooo soo good! Reminds me of my childhood.

What I Ate: Dim Sum in Hong Kong

October 11, 2017 Hong Kong

This was our last meal in Hong Kong before going to the airport. We were sad to leave but our friend took us out for dim sum at Royal Legend to send us off. And we did not hold back ordering a ton of food for 3 people. 

The pineapple buns were delicious! I could have eaten a few of those but we had more dishes to eat. 
Shrimp dumplings with chives
 Beef balls, chicken feet, and tripe. I am always ordering chicken feet. I don't know why I like so much.
Siu mai 

It's no secret that I love dim sum. I try to go as much as I can here in Toronto. This is one of the best dim sum's I've had in my life. 

I'll take this breakfast anytime ;)

Have you tried dim sum before? What's your favourite dish?

Coming back to Philippines

October 3, 2017 Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

When I was planning my trip to Hong Kong, I knew I wanted to break it up by going to another country. 

It was an easy choice to go back to the Philippines since it's always home for me but I only had a week to spend there and I had a hard decision of choosing where to go. Philippines has hundred of islands to choose from. 

I knew I wanted to go to a different island since I've only ever been in Luzon (specifically Manila and Bicol province). Palawan was a contender but my boyfriend was a bit skeptical of safety there so I modified our plan and ended up choosing to go to Cebu and Bohol instead. 

Cebu has a direct flight from Hong Kong so it was an easy choice. 

I have no family or relatives in Cebu so I contacted friends who have been there before. Thanks to my instagram friends and Kat who recommended where to stay and go. I appreciated all the help :)

As much as I love the Philippines, it's still so disorganized and chaotic. Don't get me started on the politics but the simple decency of learning to line up is lost on a lot of people there. And I hate the redundancy. I'm taking about all the extra fees when booking a ticket for the boat specifically.  I had to buy the ticket at one kiosk. Then pay for the terminal fee at another kiosk and another kiosk for luggage fees. Just do it all in one place so I don't waste my time lining up and can pay all at once. 

I hope that next time I return, it will be much more efficient and organized.

15 Random Obervations of Macau

September 25, 2017 Macau

I took a day trip to Macau and I had the best time! Here are my random observations of Macau.

1. You can get to Macau from Hong Kong in one hour by taking a high speed ferry.
2.  There are two ferry terminals in Macau - make sure you remember which one you need to go to if you purchased return tickets.
3. Macau used to be a Portuguese colony.
4. It's the Las Vegas of Asia.
5. They have a great bus system.
6. And it's cheap to ride the public transportation.
7. Macau is also famous for snacks. They sell everything from fresh beef jerky, peanut cookies,  pineapple tarts, etc.
8. Also home to a giant panda pavilion!
9. The public signs are written in both Portuguese and Mandarin.
10. You will feel like you are in Europe and not in Asia. Some of the building exteriors/interiors are European.
11. Take advantage of the free casino shuttles once you get off the ferry.
12. Macau is always building new casino's/hotels.
13. They have the best peanut cookies!
14. You can sample all the snacks by walking around the tourists area by ruins of St. Paul.
15. And of course they sell pastel de nata.

You can read more about my random observations series here.

What I Ate: Hong Kong Part II

September 15, 2017 Hong Kong

After shopping in Hong Kong, we had dinner with our friends and they took us to a restaurant in Kowloon. I happily followed our friends to get to this place and they took care of ordering our dinner. It was a local's only place.
They always order the best dishes!
This one was my favourite - deep fried squid with cashews. I like anything with nuts for added crunchiness.
And we also ordered sweet and sour pork, rice, steamed chicken with soy sauce, and eggplant on a hot pot.
We went to Bing Kee for the Hong Kong style milk tea. I got hooked to drinking milk tea after this. It's so good! And this restaurant is just off an alley and you sit on plastic stools and they have really tiny folding tables for customers to use.
It's the best drink on a hot day.
The tea was delicious and the chicken wings are the best! The perfect snack for me :)

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