Monday, 22 February 2016

New York City for Free

New York could easily intimidate budget travelers thinking about how costly staying in the city could be. But one thing to know is that anyone could experience New York whatever budget they have because there is so much New York could offer and some of them are absolutely free!

The "Free Things in NYC" is a very long list, which includes iconic places like Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Station, The High Line, and Bryant Park.

Central Park is a must-see when you're in New York. One, because it's one of the things people think of when you say New York. Two, because a lot of movies and TV shows are shot in the park. Three, because it's a really nice place to take photos - OOTD, scenery, people - everything here is interesting. Fourth, because it's a really nice place to just sit and let time pass by. We spent a morning here waiting for a museum to open. We stayed at the Ladies Pavilion, talked, and watched squirrels nearby. I can't help but sing The Next Ten Minutes from The Last Five Years. I really love that song and the movie scene was shot at the very Pavilion we were staying. I can't stop myself. I had to do it.. We also walked leisurely across the park from West to East to get from museum to museum. You wouldn't notice how much you've walked! I hope we had such parks here in the Philippines..

You can't go to New York and not go to Times Square, even just once. Just get the feel of the busy district, take in all the marquees and LEDs, see tourists scammed by mascots (including us, haha), have snacks at the nearby cafes, and go. If you ask me, there's not much you can do here but you just have to visit. You wouldn't need to pay anything, anyway.. And sometimes, they have gimmicks that are really fun. Just like Revlon's #LoveIsOn camera. People crowd infront of the Revlon camera to get the chance to see their faces on a screen in Times Square. Big deal, right? I was there in the crowd. hahaha. I don't know if you can spot me and my family in these photos.. hahaha.

I am a big fan of Gossip Girl, although I started watching the series after the whole thing ended. But I'm a fan, nonetheless! So seeing the Grand Central Terminal, where Serena was spotted "bags in hand" is a dream come true. Plus the vaulted ceiling and those arch windows!

The High Line was an abandoned railway that is used today as a park. We went there late December, with not much flowers but it was still a good place to glimpse different districts in Manhattan. Imagine going there in spring! Such a nice place for an OOTD. haha. We had a good walk and went down at Chelsea Market. You don't need to buy anything there, just strolling the place is really satisfying.

When in New York during christmas time, The Winter Village at Bryant Park is highly suggested. There were a lot of shops and based from what I've researched, this is the cheapest skating rink in Manhattan. If you bring your own skates and padlock (for the lockers), you wouldn't need to pay for anything. But I have to warn you, the line is long, but hey, it's free!

You can enjoy traveling your way, on your budget. Find ways to enjoy some sights for free so you could save up and go to the pricier places you're willing to splurge on.

Discover your own #tipidmoves and travel cheaper!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

New York Museums

When searching what to do in New York, the internet would suggest you visit the many museums in the city and I understand that. However, just because Google says so, you'd have to do it. Every person's traveling preference may or may not be the same with others.

I am not so 'deep' when it comes to art. I actually asked my professor once how to actually appreciate art because I just don't get it. I've seen art exhibits that are just sketches - mere pencil doodles on paper. (And I say mere, because again, I don't get it. Don't judge.) But these doodles are displayed in a museum. I've also seen paintings that a person I know could easily copy and I wouldn't know the difference. Please don't hate me for saying all these, again, I don't get it. Maybe only artists could understand art? Or maybe I'm just so dumb and uneducated and so unsophisticated to not appreciate obviously beautiful things. I don't know, enlighten me..

Anyway, because, again (for the fourth time), I don't get art, I don't find visiting internet-suggested museums exciting. So when I went to New York with my family, we only planned to go to the ones that we like, which are the following -- 911 Memorial Museum, The American Museum of Natural History, Ripley's Odditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Guggenheim Museum.

9/11 Memorial Museum
This interests us because I'm an architect and my dad and my sister are engineers. Also, my mom said it's a really big deal in history and she wants to know more about it. We went there and saw some of the debris, and photos of what happened. There's an area where they placed a photo of the NY skyline a few minutes before the incident, next to a photo after it happened. It is such a humbling experience being able to realize how fast life could turn around. Poof! Just a few minutes, a prominent building in the skyline disappeared.

Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium
I remember sitting at our living room floor watching the TV show with my dad so when I saw that there's an Odditorium in New York, I told my parents we have to visit. One tip here is that when you go, please do read the descriptions in the exhibit. They already look amazing and unbelievable but reading about it makes the exhibit more interesting.

The American Museum of Natural History
We went here because we watched Night at the Museum as a family and it's really a fun experience to visit the museum together as well. We went to see the dinosaurs and went on the Night at the Museum tour. I was just a little disappointed that they don't have a living Capuchin Monkey because the whole time I thought they do. Silly me. Anyway, best to come here first thing in the morning because the lines could get crazy.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I didn't plan on going inside because to be honest, I just wanted to come here because of Gossip Girl. All I wanted was a photo sitting on the steps. haha. Forgive the fangirl in me. But I unfortunately didn't have the chance to do it because it was already dark when we were in the area so I just took a photo from across the street. Maybe the next time I visit I'd come early..

The Guggenheim Museum
We actually walked across Central park from the American Museum of Natural History, passing by the Met, to The Guggenheim Museum. We planned to avail the free admission but didn't anticipate that a lot of tourists would too! We got there and the line went all around the block. Whaat?! I just wanted to see the architecture of the museum, but I guess I have another thing to look forward to the next time I'm in the city..

That's it! There are a lot more museums in New York that could be more interesting to you, than to me. There are the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Museum of Sex, to name a few. So go wherever your heart and feet takes you and don't be pressured to go to  places you don't really want to visit. Enjoy New York the way you want it!

Oh, and a tip, check each museum's website because some of them are pay-as-you-wish while some have schedules where admission is free. Here are some info I got while planning our trip:
* 9/11 Memorial Museum -- museum admission is free Tuesdays, 5pm-8pm. Just reserve your slot the day before or line up at the museum starting 4pm. Slots are limited.
* American Museum of Natural History -- pay-as-you-wish anytime
* The Metropolitan Museum of Art -- pay-as-you-wish, comes with free admission to The Cloisters for the same week
* The Guggenheim Museum -- admission is free 5:45pm-8:45pm on Saturdays
* Museum of Modern Art -- admission is free on Fridays, 4-8pm
* Museum of the Moving Image -- admission is free on Fridays, 4-8pm

Just go to places you honestly want to visit, and if you can, try do it for free!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Wait Was Over

My first international trip is very memorable to me. First, because I went to the US; Second, because I was going alone - meaning no family member went with me; And third, because I went there for something I really love - music!

My years of stage training and rehearsals paid off when I finally auditioned at a local performing group for a series of performances in the US. We had a show in New Jersey so we decided to drive to New York during our free day and experience the city.

I was 15 then and I have to say I fell in love at first sight. The busy streets, the tall buildings, and especially the theaters housing the musical shows I only hear from my CDs back home. There was so much to take in that a day there is just not enough! I promised myself I would go back and 10 years later, I finally did.

The waiting was over. I was so excited to re-experience New York, and to me, every day is a dream come true! If you've seen my instagram feed, you'd know I enjoyed myself. I can't wait to share my adventures to you, now that I got more time because midterms is finally over!

I'll be writing as much as I can and I can't wait to share every post to all of you! For now, I'll share you some photos of the trip.. Enjoy!

Next time your dreams seem too long to come true, don't lose hope.
The time will come!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Witch's 100th


My last post, the one about the Zambales Coves, was my 100th blog post and as of writing, my blog has a little more than 10,000 visits. Doing the math, that's 100 readers per post, on average, and that makes me crazy!! That could be the same 100 persons every new post i publish, or maybe 10,000 different people reading just one post, but I don't care. I'm just so happy! You guys... Thank you so much! My thankful heart goes to each one of you out there, all 10,000 of you. Well, if you read more than one post, that means more love goes to you. ❤️❤️❤️

Anyway, by now you might be wondering who "The Witch" is. Well, it's me, of course. haha.

Last Halloween, the first I spent in the city, my niece and I went to a trick-or-treat event at a mall. She dressed as Sofia the First and I went as a witch, but I want to be called The Witch, just because. haha. Actually, I was the result of my niece's rejects. She was supposed to go as a witch, thinking halloween is only for scary costumes. When she was told she could go as a princess, she decided she would. We didn't want the props she already bought to go to waste so I decided I'd use it.

From my closet, I took out a dress I used at a friend's birthday so I could use it the second time. Yes, I had just used it once after I bought it last Christmas (almost a year now) because the dress is just so maarte and so papansin if you use it on normal days, well at least I think it is. Also, it matches my niece's witch hat! For the shoes, I have this favorite pair of black heels that is unfortunately not mine. So I had to call my sister to borrow it from her. With my niece's props, I was ready to go. When I saw myself in the mirror, I thought I'd give it an Angel twist so I put on patterned stockings and Voila!

These are scanned copy of the printed studio photos. Sorry, I don't want to pay extra for the CD when I can scan it at home..

What amazes me is that I really like how all the borrowed things came together. I just added those pretty stockings and had fun. What matters is how you put your stamp on things and werk it with attitude. Because really, what we contribute in this world is our unique personality. *wink*

Cache Cache dress | Faridez shoes from Simply Felice | photos by Lito Sy Studio

I love you guys! Keep reading.. ❤️

Monday, 16 November 2015

Zambales Coves

This week is the 'APEC Holiday' in NCR. Students and Public Sector employees get to relax on November 17-20, and Private Sector employees on November 18-19. A holiday like this could mean people will be flying out for a vacation but because flights are also suspended, just as the classes and offices are, it's time to go on a road trip!

Wondering where to go? How about a 4-hour drive to Zambales? With an additional 1-hour boat ride, you can take photos at the lighthouse in Capones Island, relive the Twilight feels walking through the woods at Anawangin Cove and go camping, hiking, swimming at Nagsasa Cove. That's worth the road trip, right?

What's even better is that a trip like this could easily be found at MetroDeal. I am not associated with that site in any way but I really have to say they make travelling affordable! I've seen some sites say that a boat ride to the coves would cost around 1000 pesos. I bought my MetroDeal coupon for 888, which already includes boat transfers, tent rental for one night, and two meals. Downside is that you have to share the boat with strangers but it's okay because you get to save money and make friends at the same time.

I hate road trips, I've said that again and again. I also hate boat rides. But seeing Nagsasa Cove, even just from the boat before actually arriving, I can't help but smile. Such a view! If you're like me, who'd rather be tired exploring a new place than sleep the entire morning, you'd know that the experience is as beautiful as the view.

I know after some research you already know about the lack of network signals in the area, the costs of transportation from Manila, and the things to bring, among other things. But here are a few more things you should know before you pack your bags.

Bring waterproof bags. On the boat, bags are randomly placed on the floor which means liquids other passengers brought may spill on your bag. Also, because of strong waves, water may get inside the boat. My bag got wet, don't let that happen to you too.

Bring easy-to-eat food. MetroDeal vouchers usually just include overnight tours so don't be a hardcore camper bringing cooking wares and stuff. They also provide you two meals for the first day - lunch and dinner - because you arrive around 2pm. You'd also be leaving around same time the next day so really, you just have to pack food for 2 meals. A loaf of bread, a few sachets of sandwich spread, a pack of maybe pork and beans or corned beef, and a few bags of chips could already make you survive. Drinks? A store in the cove sells drinks. You could even buy ice from them.

I've read a lot of articles saying there's no electricity in Nagsasa Cove. But there is! You can't use it to charge your gadgets though, but there's light during the night so leave the flashlights at home. Use the space to pack extra batteries for your gadgets instead.

What to do? You would want to go swimming during sunset, and in the morning, when the waves are crazy. Also, wake up early and hike Kamp Rira Rika because seeing the sun rays peeking through the trees is just immaculate. Just don't use the actual entrance because you'd have to pay. There's another trail just a little farther and it's for free!

Know that there's a waterfall about an hour hike away. My friends and I knew this information from a boat guy around 11am that's why we haven't gone there. In case you don't like hiking so much, you can rent a boat and follow the river up to the waterfall. You can instead, like us, enjoy the lake and its freshwater goodness. You would want to, after all the salt.

There is another island after the lake separated by a narrow stream of water that you should NOT underestimate. If you want to go that island, come when the tide is low because that little stream gets crazy during high tide. It's becomes so deep and the water current gets so strong. My friends and I amazingly survived it while keeping my phone dry. I warn you it's not easy. A group of friends and a couple also tried but failed. We were just super determined.

7 Bring sunscreen and apply as needed. Don't let the fun let you forget that. I had sunscreen when we were there but because of excitement, we forgot to use it. My friend went back to Manila with intense sunburn and blisters on his shoulders we had to consult a doctor and found out they were 2nd degree burns. So don't EVER forget your sunscreen! Ever.

That's all I can tell you, in addition to other information you already knew. This post is already lengthy so I'd stop here and let the photos convince you to visit Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves in Zambales.

you'd be in a boat like this for an hour

and see views like this

Anawangin Cove

The beautiful Nagsasa Cove...

It's a good morning...

...for a little hike.

This is what you get when you wake up early!

... and the beautiful experiences with beautiful people.  :P

enjoying the lake

our camp site

My first bonfire by the beach

This is me, selfie-ing..

Bluezoo tank top | Nike shorts | Speedo shoes | Sun and Sand swimwear

There are a lot of beautiful things in the world if you dare to find them.