Travel

Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially. ~ Tom Freston

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Let’s get back into the swing of things with a new travel post. It has occurred to me several times that I haven’t been out of the country since November, which is very unusual for me. I don’t think I’ll be beating my record of 7 countries in a year, but that’s alright. I’ll be off to Croatia in August, so at least I’m getting out a bit. Not to mention, Mutay and I did visit Edinburgh in February!

For my mum’s 60th birthday I treated her to a trip to Venice because you only turn 60 once, right? To be honest, it was also an excuse for me to come along, and I managed to lock in a good price with my sister accompanying us as well.

We arrived in Venice pretty late on Monday night, so we didn’t do anything when we got to the hotel except unpack and fall asleep straight away. The real fun started on Tuesday.

I’m putting this photo here because I’m gassed and I love my outfit 😍

CA’ D’ORO, CHIESAS AND SO MANY BRIDGES πŸŒ‰

This day consisted of a lot of walking, which I was definitely not ready for. Our first stop was Ca’ d’Oro, “Golden House”, a palace overlooking the Grand Canal. Built between 1428 and 1430, it is one of the oldest palaces in the city. We didn’t stay long here but we did admire the mosaics that adorned the palace floor and the gallery on the upper floors. There were many busts, statues and paintings. We also got to witness a stunning view of the Grand Canal from the top floor! 

View from the top floor of Ca’ d’Oro

After Ca’ d’Oro we headed over Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli located in the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto. This church holds a portrait of the Madonna which many believe to be miraculous. You have to pay €3 to enter, but that’s mainly to help with the upkeep of the church. Fun fact, the painting is said to have brought someone back to life! The inside was beautiful with white, grey and pink marble decorating the walls. As with all churches, I found it really peaceful.

Inside of Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Our next stop was Ponte di Rialto, one of the oldest bridges to cross the Grand Canal. It was insanely busy, as expected, but I did manage to snap a few photos! It’s a huge bridge, and I would recommend trying to get here as early as possible because of how busy it gets. On either side of the bridge are rows of shops, which I think is pretty cool. Considering it started off as a wooden bridge, it has definitely come a long way.

Views from Ponte di Rialto

After the bridge, we popped into Chiesa di San Salvador – this church was free to get in. There are many, many churches around the city some of which you have to pay, but you if don’t wish to you can always admire the architecture from the outside. Venice boasts some beautiful architecture, and will definitely appeal to the architect junkies out there. Built in the Baroque and Renaissance style, legend has it that Bishop S. Magnus saw a vision of Jesus asking him to build a church on this site. The history behind many of the churches is so fascinating!

Finally, after much walking over many bridges, we reached Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This place was probably the most exciting area for us to visit and it is Venice’s most famed tourist attraction. A colleague I used to work with actually proposed to his girlfriend here! Hella cute. St. Mark’s Square holds the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica), and if you don’t have Skip-The-Line tickets it is literally hours to get in. When we first arrived, the queue was snaking all the way around to the Doge’s Palace! Speaking of the Doge’s Palace, we decided not to go here only because they don’t do single entry tickets and you’d have to either buy a ticket for all the museums in St. Mark’s Square or all the museums in general.

St. Mark’s Square is actually the only ‘piazza’ in Venice, all the other squares are called ‘campi’. The square is surrounded by buildings on three sides and open on one side where you’ll find the gondola service. There are loads of stalls and restaurants where you can even catch some live bands! It was very busy in the square with everyone crowding around the Basilica trying to get that Instagram snap on point (me included) and there were so many bloody pigeons! Bleurgh!

We decided to leave the Basilica for the next day as the queue was way too long, and there was no way we would stand there for hours especially in that heat. The square also holds Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Bell Tower), a huge tower which is right near the Basilica. Originally a lighthouse and watch tower, it has undergone several reconstructions and currently houses 5 bells: the Mezza Terza Bell announced the Senate; the Nona Bell announced midday; the biggest bell, the Marangona Bell, announced the beginning and end of the work day; the Trottiera announced council meetings and the smallest bell, the Renghiera Bell announced executions. It was nice to admire it from the outside, but we ended up not going up it.

After the square, we visited another one of Venice’s famous bridges, Ponte dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs), the meaning behind the name has several stories. One is the sighs that the prisoners would make as they crossed the bridge from the Palace to the Old Prison and another is that of the sighs of lovers as they passed under the bridge on a gondola (cheese). The bridge itself is quite small and was hella crowded when we got there, and again, I would recommend coming here early if you can!

Views from Ponte dei Sospiri

Having exhausted ourselves with so much walking we went on a search for somewhere to eat and we ended up in Bar Oasi, purely because my sister and I thought the waiter was cute. I had one of many pasta dishes that I would have on this trip, starting with the spaghetti alla bolognese. Simple, yet so tasty – I had to post a picture of it along with a pasta pun 😜 We were thoroughly exhausted at this point, so we headed back to the hotel to relax. We ordered room service and I caught up on the latest episode of GoT.

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta. 🍝

BASILICA DI SAN MARCO, ‘FLOWER’ WAITERS AND A GONDOLA RIDE 🚣🏾

We would start our mornings early, mainly because the breakfast buffet was between 6:30 – 9:30 AM. It’s definitely good to start off early when in Venice though because it can get insanely busy. Also, because we stayed in Mestre, rather than in the city centre it would have been harder for us to get back if we stayed out later.

So, Wednesday morning we started our day at Arsenale di Venezia (The Venetian Arsenal) which is a complex of former shipyards and armouries where you can see Porta Magna, the Arsenal’s land gate. It’s not that busy around the Arsenal, so I don’t think it’s on many tourists lists, but I would definitely recommend a visit because it’s nice and peaceful and there’s a really cute bridge. 

After the Arsenal, we headed over to Scuola Di S. Giorgio Degli Schiavoni which is one of the city’s most historic confraternity houses (a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety). We found many scenes depicting St. George slaying the dragon, as well as panels featuring St. Jerome and St. Tryphone. The scuole is small, and you do have to pay to get in. If you’re lucky, the guy will mistake you for a student like he did with me and you’ll pay €3 instead €5 😜

The next stop was Riva Degli Schiavoni, which is a waterfront promenade located between Piazza San Marco and Arsenale di Venezia. It’s really nice to stroll along here and you’ll find many market stalls where you can pick up souvenirs. 

We were meant to pop into Punta della Dogana, an art museum, however, after finding out it cost €13 to get in and having already spent so much getting into places we decided to skip this. We did manage to view ‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst, which is at the back of the building overlooking the water and is one of the 180 works in his ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”. Stunning sculpture!

‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst

Before the Punta della Dogana, we did find a random exhibit for the illy Art Collection at the Magazzini del Sale which is in its 25th year. You can find out more about the exhibit here. It was a really interesting find and I enjoyed viewing the different cups on display – especially loved the alien one.

David Byrne – Alien cup (2001)

We found a random restaurant called Ai Fabbri Trattoria where I had the gnocchi alla bolognese, which again was simple but delicious. We were given sweets at the end of the meal and when we asked the waiter was kind of sweets they were he responded with, “They’re flower… like me” 😭 We think he meant sweet, bless him, but it did make us laugh. The other waiter looked like my ex, though, which stressed me out and I had to text Mutay about it who said it was probably him in disguise trying to make sure I got holiday anxiety πŸ˜‚

You hold the gnocchi to my ❀️

After eating we headed to the Basilica! It’s free to get in, but in order to avoid waiting in the queue, we opted to get the €2 Skip-The-Line tickets. We actually got turned away the first time because you can’t bring backpacks inside and also because you need to cover your shoulders and legs when you go in. We all had to buy this dusty orange wrap for €1 before we were allowed in. The Basilica was absolutely stunning, though, albeit very dark inside! You also have to pay extra if you want to see St. Mark’s treasure, the museum or if you to climb to the top of the terrace. When I tell you Venice is expensive…

The most exciting part of the day was the gondola ride we took – we opted for the long ride and the gondolier was a really nice man who explained to us the sights along our journey. We passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the gondolier told us the next time we are there with a boyfriend, you have to kiss when you pass under the bridge πŸ˜‚ We also passed Casanova’s house, which gave me David Tennant feels because he was brilliant in his role as Casanova, as well as Marco Polo’s house! The gentle rocking of the gondola nearly put me to sleep, haha. We didn’t get serenaded but there was plenty of music surrounding us and a few gondoliers we passed were singing, which was nice. It was just as nice quiet with just the gentle sounds of the river surrounding us.

After the gondola ride, we stopped by for some gelato which AH-MAY-ZING. I got a regular cone with three flavours: oreo, dulce latte and chocolate chips covered in caramel sauce 😍 It was a messy affair, but it was so delicious! I would recommend Gelato Fantasy as their scoops are massive, so you definitely get more for your money.  After gelato, we decided to head back to the hotel where we had dinner. I’m not even gonna write about the dinner we had because it was so disappointing πŸ˜’

GLASS BLOWING, COLOURFUL BUILDINGS AND MORE GELATO 🍨

We had had enough of churches and galleries at this point and all the ones on my guide for day 3 were indicating you had to pay to get in, which frankly we’d also had enough of. Instead, I researched free things to do in Venice and was surprised that Burano and Murano weren’t on my list anyway! Nevertheless, we took the water bus from Piazzale Roma to Murano.

Murano has many stops, but we got off Murano Faro where you can go to a glass blowing demonstration. Murano is famed for its glass making, so you will find many shops displaying glass wares. Murano is composed of seven islands which are all linked together by bridges – it’s super easy to get around, so it really doesn’t matter where you get off the water bus.

Murano

When you come out the station, you can turn left to visit the shops, etc. or turn right for the glass blowing demonstrations. We watched a demonstration at Vetreria Artistica Colleoni, where it is €10 per person, however, the €10 can then be used as credit in their gift shop, so a win/win really. The demonstration was amazing – we got to see the guy make a glass vase complete with decoration as well as make a horse in under a minute. To show how hot the glass gets, the speaker put a piece of paper near the horse and it burst into flames! It was very hot in there, though, I was literally sweating my balls off. We were lucky to catch the demonstration as well because the following day they would be closed for a month because it’s too hot to be doing glass making in the summer!

We explored Murano a bit more, before heading back to the station and catching the water bus to Burano. Burano is made up of four islands and is famed for its embroidery and colourful homes. I absolutely loved Burano! The colourful buildings honestly made me so happy and even though there were quite a few tourists it was still nice and quiet. If you want to get away from the noisiness of main Venice, then I would suggest taking a trip to Murano and Burano.

The colourful homes of Burano

My mum and I stopped by Museo Del Merletto, which is a lace museum and was once the lace school of Burano. The embroidery we saw were so delicate and my mum was certainly enamoured, being a seamstress and all. 

After the museum, we decided to grab lunch at Restaurant Galuppi where I opted for the tortelloni ai Funghi porcini – HMM. The tortelloni was stuffed with cheese and spinach, which made it extra delicious! We made a few stops at the lace stores and stalls before heading back to St. Mark’s Square to pick up even more souvenirs. I finally got a shot glass to add to my collection.

I am tortelloni in love with you

We then decided to get gelato because when in Venice and you can never have enough gelato, honestly. We got it from a different place and the scoops weren’t as big 😒 Still, it was very yummy and I opted for strawberry, cream cherry and vanilla flavours. It tasted liked bubble gum! After gelato, we headed back to the hotel before going to Roadhouse Grill for dinner where I had to fattest T-bone steak 😍 We then ended up going to bed early because we had a flight at 7:45 AM the next morning!

CONCLUSION

Venice is a stunning city. You’ll only really need to spend a few days here because it is very much a walking city, so everything is easily accessible. It is very expensive, which is not surprising because it is such a tourist attraction but when in Venice, amirite? Venice is the perfect getaway, whether you’re with your partner or with family, and it’s even better in the summer months because the weather is beautiful. Art, culture and architecture – there’s something for everyone in this city!

TIPS

  • I used visitacity.com to get an idea of what we were going to do whilst in Venice. You’ll find 1 to 3-day guides on the site, and you can even get the app and download the guide for offline use! It was definitely very useful. Thanks to Sharmayne for suggesting this site! I’ll be using it when I head off to Croatia ☺️
  • On our first day, we only took the bus which is €1.50 each way, which also ended up with us doing A LOT of walking (I guess that’s what I get for complaining about cardio all the time). I’d suggest going for the Vaporetto/Bus pass which will cut down the walking time. You can get: 24 hours: €20 / 48 hours: €30 / 72 hours: €40 / 7 days: €60
  • As I mentioned the Basilica is free, but if you can’t stand queues then head to this site and get the €2 skip-the-line tickets. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered when you visit, and no backpacks. If you happen to have one then they do have a free locker service around the corner of the Basilica.
  • I opted for a hotel that included a full breakfast so that we could fill ourselves before lunch. I would suggest getting your big meal at lunchtime because it is pretty pricey eating out. For the three of us, prices ranged from €50 – 80.
  • Take a day for Murano and Burano as it is a fairly long journey on the water bus from the mainland of Venice. 
  • We actually didn’t stay in the centre of Venice and instead stayed in Mestre, mainly because it was much cheaper, and it was only a 25-minute bus journey to get to Piazzale Roma which is basically the entrance of the city centre.
  • If you go to the gondola service by St. Mark’s Square there are two options: a short ride is €80 and a long ride is €120. I know, I know – it is expensive but did you really visit Venice if you didn’t go on a gondola? Also, escape premium prices and take a ride before 7 PM πŸ˜‰

Ending this post with these photos my sis took of me 😜

I should really get out of England and discover what’s in my own backyard. I say this every time I go to somewhere that’s pretty close by and I probably could have visited ages ago because it was that close. I’m waffling, so moving on. 

Mutay and I went to Edinburgh for two days this week, and it was absolutely wonderful. Also, very cold. That’s the important part… how cold it was. Obviously, the more up north you go, the colder it gets, but my gosh. It was something else.

We flew with Ryanair, who were giving out scratch cards to buy and you could win 1 million euros, which would be lovely let me tell you, and the air hostess said: “And don’t forget, if you do win that 1 million euros, my name is [I actually forgot her name] and I am here to share the burden of your winnings.” Me too, girl, me too.

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πŸ› < This is so appropriate for this post. You know, living in London makes me forget there are other places to visit in England? You’d get it if you live here – we basically have everything you’d ever need, so why would you need to venture outside of it? Probably so you don’t become a hermit/get some culture ’cause that’s a thing people do, right?

Last November, my friends and I decided to visit the lovely city of Bath. Bath is a city in Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. It is steeped in a lot of history, and it was wonderful to walk around getting to soak all of that in.

Day 1

I literally had two days rest from coming back from the Philippines before I set off again to visit Bath. Life of a traveller, eh? I had gone to see Dr. Strange with my friends the night before, so didn’t get back home until about 1.30 in the morning, fully knowing that I had a coach journey at 7AM. Living life on the edge.

The struggle that morning was real, but thankfully it was only one bus for me to get to the coach station. After picking up some well deserved McDonalds breakfast on the way, we waited at the cold ass coach station.

The journey itself took about 3 hours for which most of it I was asleep – obviously. The weather wasn’t great once we arrived, either, but after some deliberation we decided to venture in to look for some food. 

It took us ages because the first two places we stopped by were really full and quite a long wait to be seated. We finally ended up in the Cosy Club, which is located in the heart of SouthGate shopping centre. The entrance seems like a fake out, but once you enter through you’ll find stairs that will take you to their restaurant/bar. The hostess said it would be about a 45 minute wait, and at this point we were willing to wait that long because we were so hungry/couldn’t be bothered to walk anymore. Thankfully, we actually only ended up waiting 20 minutes!

I ordered a pink lemonade once we were seated, which was delicious, and for my main I ordered Cosy Eggs: two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on a toasted muffin with your choice of smoked back bacon or spinach & mushrooms or Severn & Wye smoked salmon or chorizo sausage. I had it with spinach and mushrooms, but I ordered a side of bacon as well because 🐷

Cosy Eggs 🐣

The eggs were poached perfectly, and the sauce was absolutely amazing. Overall, a perfect start to our little weekend away! (Despite having to walk for the longest time just to get there)

After brunch, we passed by Bath Abbey but decided to save that for the next day and instead headed over to the famous Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths πŸ›

The architecture is amazing!

I remember in primary school learning about the Romans, and I have always found them fascinating. It was pretty cool to get to wonder around the baths and to get a feel of what it was like to live in that day and age. I’m not sure how I feel about public bathing, however I guess it’s not too far off health spas of today, to be fair. We were given a free audio guide tour with our ticket, and that gave us lots of facts about the baths as we walked around. I’m pretty sure my Classical Civilisation teacher from secondary school would have been proud of me visiting the baths πŸ˜†

After visiting the baths, we ended up in a little souvenir shop where I picked up a shot glass for my collection, magnets and a postcard. We also passed by a whiskey shop because my friend was looking for presents for her dad’s birthday. As we had been walking around for a long while and getting pretty tired, we decided to head over  to the Airbnb we had rented for the weekend.

The house was a bit out of the way located in Bathampton, but it was such a beautiful house! We had to get a taxi to dinner that evening and then going back into town the next day, as well, but split between us the fare wasn’t too bad. The house we stayed in was the definition of house goals, though. There was an open plan kitchen, which led to a little area with all the laundry  equipment. The living room was nice and airy with a flat screen TV. Upstairs were two master bedrooms and one side room plus the bathroom, which had the best water pressure I’ve ever come across. Definitely one of the best Airbnbs I’ve ever stayed in!

We decided to chill out for a bit before heading out to dinner. There were quite a few restaurants we wanted to try but because we had left it too late, we weren’t able to get a table as they were mostly fully booked. We eventually found a place called Burgers and Barrels, which is a tiny burger restaurant. When I say tiny, I am not even exaggerating. We were seated downstairs in a cramped area, and usually I would complain but it was actually nice and cosy and the decor was fantastic too.

Wallpaper @ Burger and Barrels

Seriously, if I had my way my room would look like this

So fecking cool

They had two for one cocktails that night, so I immediately ordered two of those. For my main, I went for the 12 Monkeys: Two original recipe beef burgers, stacked high and glazed with our unique 12 Monkeys spiced bourbon sauce. SO FECKING DELICIOUS! The waiter complimented me on getting 12 Monkeys because it is such a heavy burger… I was nearly defeated by it, but I prevailed πŸ’ͺ🏽 I didn’t manage to finish my chips, though, but that’s whatevs.

I wanna say that these were martinis, but I don’t know what flavour πŸ˜‚

12 Monkeys πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™Š

After dinner, we headed to the local Sainsbury’s to pick up a bottle of red and then headed home. We spent the rest of the night watching TV, chatting, bonding and getting pissed on red wine. Such a bloody good night.

Day 2

On arrival the previous day, we really wanted to go to this restaurant called Boston Tea Party. Unfortunately, the one we found was small and completely packed so we had to forgo it. Thanks to the cab driver’s suggestion, however, we decided to head over to the one located on Alfred Street, which was much bigger!

After check out, we decided to head over for some brunch because you can never eat too much brunch, lets face it. We luckily got there at a perfect time because as we were ordering, it suddenly got really busy. Honestly took me the longest time to decide what I wanted, though, because their menu is so delicious. Eventually, I ordered Sourdough Eggy Bread with Smoked Bacon & Avocado and mmhmHMMMHMmmmmmm. It was so good. The wait was a bit long because it did get busy, but it was worth the wait.

This is that hipster brunch shit

After brunch, we then headed over to The Royal Crescent. “The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom and is a Grade I listed building.” – Wikipedia

Panaromic view of The Royal Crescent

I can’t even imagine how much the houses go for down there. They are so beautiful, though, and if I lived there… what a dream!

We then headed back into town, where we stumbled across a cute Christmas market. I didn’t see much that I wanted to buy but the sellers had some really nice wares on display – homemade scarves, purses, etc. 

Our next stop was Bath Abbey. As mentioned many times in my posts, I am not religious at all, but I do appreciate a beautiful church and honestly, Bath Abbey is gorgeous. It’s actually called the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and was founded in the 7th century. It then got rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. I particularly liked the great window at the east end, which contains 56 scenes in the life of Jesus.

The Great Window

Bath Abbey

We were getting hungry at this point, so we decided to get over to Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum. Before we got there, we made several stops including a ceramic pig made as part of the 2008 Public Art Project created by artist Natasha Rampley and Pulteney Bridge.

“Sulis”

Pulteney Bridge ~ the water coursing through was SO loud

View of Bath

Onto Sally Lunn’s! Based in one of the oldest houses in Bath, Sally Lunn’s is a historic tea and eating house, home of the original Bath Bun. What is a Bath Bun? “There is no truly useful common English word to describe a Sally Lunn Bun as it is part bun, part bread, part cake… A large and generous but very very light bun; a little like brioche/French festival bread….but traditionally it is a bun so, even if it isn’t really a bun, let’s call it a bun!” – The Sally Lunn Bun And who the hell is Sally Lunn? I don’t even know myself, and I’ve been doing a little research and apparently she may not even have existed! Nevertheless, her buns are fecking tasty.

You can choose from a variety of sweet toppings to go with your bun, ex: jam, cinnamon butter, chocolate butter, etc. I opted for dulce de leche and oh my god. The sweet creaminess of it was enough to make me cry tears of joy. I also ordered a Bailey’s hot chocolate with cream and it was so indulgent, so satisfying, so alcoholic. 10/10 would visit Sally Lunn’s again!

Arty Farty picture

My buns, my buns, my buns, my lovely little buns

By the time we finished, it was time for us to head back to the coach station and so ended our lovely little trip away.

Overall, I had such an amazing time in Bath and it is a beautiful city. I love how it’s steeped in history and culture, and there are a lot of things to do/places to visit, as well. I will definitely be back here because I’m pretty sure there’s more that I can explore.

I was reading through some old posts earlier on this week, and I stumbled across a post from 2014 in which I listed the ‘Top 10 Places I’d Like to Visit‘. Whilst I’m far from completing even half of the list, I can proudly say that I have now visited Amsterdam and now, finally, after many years, I’ve visited Boracay. How do I even begin to explain Boracay? That magical little island famous for its white sand beaches and is honestly one of the most relaxing places on Earth. If you’re looking for paradise, well look no further…

Day 1

I realised that at this point I had been up early everyday since I arrived in the Philippines. I don’t ever remember actually having a lie-in. Nevertheless, it was probably a good thing because we managed to get more done during the day that way. Anyway, the morning we flew to Boracay my mother and I were up at 4AM. We were staying at my Tita’s in Manila, so we had to drop off my cousin and Tita to school before my Tito drove us to the airport. Traffic in Manila is something else, I tell ya. I remember when I was in the Philippines a few years back and the traffic then, but I swear it’s gotten worse. God forbid I ever use public transport there (I know I sound like a snob, heh). 

Our flight was at 10AM and we arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport with plenty of time to spare. We walked around a bit before deciding to head to Jollibee for breakfast because who denies fried chicken for breakfast? Not me, that’s for sure. I love how they have a special breakfast set, which is basically just Chickenjoy but with a fried egg and fried rice instead of normal rice. Ang sarap, though.

Because of course Filipinos are generally a late people (I try not to stereotype, but it’s true), our flight was delayed by an hour (or perhaps it was 2 hours) and it was ages before we arrived at Kalibo airport. Side note: We were standing near the conveyor belt waiting for our luggage when I overhead this guy mentioning that he’d been living in the Philippines for almost 5 years and that he had recently visited “Say-boo”. 5 years in the Philippines and you can’t even pronounce Cebu correctly? OKAY.

Heading to Kalibo was only the first part of our long journey to Boracay. My cousin had booked us transport to Caticlan Jetty Port, so it was a 2 hour bus journey to there in which I obviously fell asleep during the whole ride. Once we arrived at the port, it was a 15 minute boat ride to Boracay! We all got ferried onto this rickety little boat and I was holding on for dear life just trying to board. I genuinely thought I was gonna drop off the side, but thankfully I made it.

In the little rickety boat with our sexy life jackets on

Once we finally arrived on the island, it was another short journey to La Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel. The hotel itself was lovely. Our package included breakfast, so that was a bonus and whilst you had to pay for wifi per day in your room there was free wifi in the lobby so it wasn’t too bad. Also, you get fresh juice drink upon arrival which was lovely.

Our first day was spent literally walking the most of the beach on the island. Like I mentioned previously Boracay is famous for its white sand beaches, and goddamn it is so fucking beautiful. No words to describe the sense of peace I felt whilst strolling alongside the ocean. I’ll mention briefly that before I went away, I wasn’t in a great place but that moment, on that beach, 1000 miles away from all my problems, I was at peace. It was what I needed to get myself out of my stupor.

So in love

It’s like a dream

We visited the activities area where we booked island hopping and scuba diving for the next day. The island hopping promised a delicious looking buffet, which I was looking forward to. We also witnessed a wedding, which made my icy heart melt ❀️

We were meant to go out to dinner that evening after we got back to the hotel, but it had honestly been such a long day that we slept all the way until the next morning. πŸ˜†

Day 2

We had breakfast at the hotel, which consisted of the usual: fried rice, spam, scrambled and fried egg, corned beef. They also had toast with butter, pancakes, fruit, mango and pineapple juice, and coffee and tea. It was quite a selection. I had enough to feed a small army (you think I’m joking). After breakfast, we on a morning beach walk, which is something I could do everyday to start my day. I know for sure that my days would definitely be better starting that way.

Morning beach walks, FTW

We then headed to the meeting point for the boat for island hopping. You know I said previously Filipinos are generally a late people… yeah, it showed again that morning. The boat was meant to arrive at 9… it did not arrive until 10.30 πŸ˜’ We also basically had to swim in the ocean before we could even board the boat, so my playsuit was hella wet once I was seated. It was quite hot that day, anyway so I dried quickly. I was planning on wearing my swimsuit underneath but decided against it – had to wait until we got to Crystal Cove Island to change into it, so missed out on the snorkelling the first time around.

The boat was basically in the middle of the ocean πŸ˜†

Mummy’s bighead

Our first stop was Crystal Cove Island located about 10-15 minutes away from White Beach, Boracay. There are various pathways that will lead you all around the island – there is quite a lot to discover from museums to the sea coves. You have to climb down quite deep to get into the caves and I was the only one brave enough to do so, but it was so worth it. I didn’t want to risk my phone whilst down there because the waves were crashing pretty high, so I left it with my mum whilst I was exploring. It was spectacular, though! I did manage to get some other pictures, though, including one of me desperately looking for bae. πŸ˜†

Views from Crystal Cove

Living that mermaid life

After exploring Crystal Cove (which actually got pretty exhausting because there just SO much to explore. Great workout, though), we headed over to a different island for lunch. We had to wait fucking ages, though, because they only had one bus when we arrived so they took one batch over to the lunch area first and then we had to wait for it to come back and take us. The food wasn’t even anything to write home about, anyway, which sucked. We didn’t even get the prawns we wanted, which were advertised as part of the buffet πŸ˜’ Definitely wasn’t happy with that part of the island hopping.

✌🏾

Before heading to Puka Shell Beach, we stopped for some snorkelling. I had changed into my swimsuit at that point, so I happily donned a snorkelled and jumped into the clear blue sea. I’ve never snorkel before that, so it was an amazing experience and something I would not have passed up despite nearly ruining my wig πŸ˜† It was so worth seeing all the corals and fish in the sea – made me wish I had a GoPro so I could have documented it all. Thankfully, some hair oil I bought in 7/11 saved my wig and it actually put some bounce back in it! Thank God.

Our last stop was Puka Shell Beach, also known as Yapak. This is definitely one of the quieter islands, as there are no hotels or anything on the beach. It seems so untouched and is probably the best place to be alone with your thoughts. You can walk for miles and not encounter anybody. It is so peaceful. We stumbled across a man offering to take our photo in front of his Puka Beach sandcastle in exchange for a few pesos. It was for his family, so we couldn’t resist. Also, the sandcastle was hella awesome! I can barely make a normal sandcastle let alone that amazing sculpture.

I was also totally feeling myself in my new red swimsuit from Pretty Little Thing and made my mum do an impromptu photoshoot on a secluded part of the beach πŸ˜†

I’ve officially become that person who takes picture like this ☝🏾

Cheesing

Unfortunately, the island hopping literally took the whole day and so by the time we got back, it was too late to do the scuba diving. We got our money back, but my cousin and my mum let the lady who sold us the activity HAVE IT. Naturally, the island hopping was great but the service was abysmal. Will definitely not be using D’Chosen Fun Tours again.

After heading back to the hotel for a quick shower and rest, we headed out for dinner. We ended up in Victory Divers Resto-Bar where there was a buffet, which was much better than the one we had on the tour! We also had a jug of iced tea, so refreshing. Just outside the restaurant, there was a coconut water seller. There are quite a few of them on the strip, but this is only one I saw that sold fresh coconut water mixed with THREE shots of rum. Yeah, that’s right THREE. You can view this video and hear my mother voice her obvious disgust, lol.

I, for obvious reasons, was feeling like a hot mess after finishing my drink. The coconut itself is actually really heavy! Also, there was tons of water in there. The urge to go toilet was strong after a while. Nevertheless, I carried this heavy ass coconut whilst we went around D’Talipapa Market. I managed to get a shot glass for my collection and a personalised keyring. My mum bought a shit ton of dried mango to bring back home, haha.

After exploring, we wondered back onto the main strip. We managed to catch the fire dancers that were actually dancing outside the hotel we were staying at. There were a few others at another restaurant. It was so cool! I also got henna done; I let the guy freestyle his design and it turned out so pretty. It’s been ages since I’ve had henna done on my hand. My cousin also got me to try Isaw ng Manok (grilled chicken intestine) and Inihaw na Isaw ng Baboy (BBQ pork intestine), which was actually tastier than I thought it would be! I mean intestines, amirite? I was feeling pretty tired at this point (also slightly drunk) and so we decided to head back to the hotel.

Day 3

My cousin had arranged for a bus to pick us up from our hotel to take us back to the port at 1PM, so we had some time to kill. After breakfast and check out, we decided to head back to D’Talipapa Market to pick a few more gifts for family and friends. We actually spent quite a bit of time there, so by the time we got back to the hotel we were hungry. We ended up at the Hangover Kitchen, which was located quite near the hotel, and I had some delicious chicken inasal. We also had sizzling pork sisig, which was equally delicious. I love Filipino food 😍 I also spotted this awesome sign which resonates so much with me. Tell ’em!

After eating we chilled out in the hotel lobby whilst we waited for our bus to come pick us up and to start the loooooong journey back to Manila. Once we arrived in Manila, we stayed at my cousins house and in the morning we took the coach back to Tarlac 😊

Overall, Boracay was an amazing experience and I am just dying to go back and experience it all over again. Everything from the beaches, sunshine, to the food and stunning views, everything about that island is freaking perfect. Boracay is breathtaking and I know I will be back. Fo’sho.

bye, boracay. you’ve been breathtaking; i’ll be back πŸ’•

I really tried to jump on the Blogmas band wagon, but I fell off way back when and it’s probably not going to happen. Now I’m just behind in my blog posts.. lol, such a failure.

This won’t be like my usual travel posts where I detail what I did on each day because honestly most of the days I spent sleeping and eating. It was much needed.

As y’all know, unless you don’t follow me on Instagram, I was recently in the Philippines for just under two weeks. It was mainly for family and for my Lola’s memorial as it has been a year since she passed away, but I did manage to squeeze some fun in. I honestly miss it so much, and I wish I was back there!

I got to spend some time in Tarlac, Manila and Boracay. If I had more time, I would have got to the other islands like Cebu or Palawan but there’s always next time! I’ll be doing a separate post for Boracay, which will be like my usual travel posts.

Every time we go to the Philippines we stay in Tarlac, which is a province in Central Luzon. My Lola’s house is right opposite the rice fields, so if you wake up super early you get to see the sun rise over them. It’s really pretty.

I spent the majority of the time eating myself into a food coma, so much so that I started to resemble Buddha’s twin sister. You could probably see my food baby from space. Honestly, I ate so much rice. I mean more so than usual. I’m paying for it now because when I got back my other Lola said that she could see the whole of the Philippines in my thighs. Yeah, love you too.

There was one morning where my mother woke up just so we could go to Tarlac Recreational Park in San Jose. I hadn’t showered, I still had my hair wrap on and I was still in my pyjamas. That sunrise was worth it (sort of). 

I guess the sunrise was worth it…

We also spent time in Manila and I got to meet up with Tiff. We had lunch at Victorino’s where they specialise in Ilocano food. The food was amazinggggg and it was so lovely to be able to meet up with Tiff whilst I was out there. I had to lay down in the back seat on the way home, haha. I will be writing a Food Diary post about Victorino’s for sure.

Was so lovely seeing Tiff again!

(Mang Bok’s pork liempo is what dreams are made of.)

After Manila, we headed back to Tarlac where we had Lola’s memorial. It was really nice and whilst the mass was in Tagalog and I didn’t understand, I got the gist. We had so many family and friends over for food afterwards; it was overflowing. I ended up getting overheated so I had to go and lie down for a bit after eating my weight in food. It was honestly such a lovely memorial. I always find it better to be happy when remembering someone – surrounding yourself with friends and family always helps.

Chef Baboy 🐷

Keeping Up With the (insert all the different surnames for my family here)

My last few days were spent chilling. I actually got to Almah Rousa Beauty Spa and had the best full body massage + ventosa cupping therapy. One of the most relaxing experiences in my life, ughhhh.

“Ventosa cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese alternative treatment that uses local  suctions on the skin to eliminate stagnation of the blood flow and promote healing for a variety of  health conditions such as colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, body pain, swelling and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also used to balance the qi and maintain a healthy physical well being.” – Cebu Spa & Wellness Guide

I ended up with circular bruises on my back, which lasted a couple of days but they didn’t hurt πŸ™‚

Honestly, since coming back I’ve missed the Philippines so much. Mostly because of my family but the country itself it just goddamn amazing. The food, the atmosphere, the people, the beaches – what more could you really ask for?