Ready for the longest bus ride of my life!

 

I haven’t posted anything in days even if I wanted to. I was so preoccupied with fixing photos and prepping the items I’d be selling on Ebay. I decided to finally start selling internationally and hoping against all odds not to have an unpleasant experience in doing so. But of course, Ebay has been teeming with lots of scammers (yes, some buyers are scammers too!), I’ve been extra cautious.

Anyway, we will be finally going to Ilocos Norte today and I was just waiting for Mon to arrive at our house before we leave. It took me several hours to make up my mind what to bring in what would possibly be the longest bus ride of my life! If I’m not mistaken, the trip will take almost 10 hours! When we went to Zambales last September, the trip one way was about 8 hours and I had a constant case of “Are we there yet?” for each latter half of the trip.

Hot mess known as packing

 

I’m so excited to go to Pagudpud and also to swim in a river! I Just realized that I only have a pair of board shorts since I don’t really go to the beach a lot, so my gray and white pair will have a repeat performance again. =D I had to prevent myself from constantly packing unnecessary  things I won’t be using (i.e. clothes) but I think I had it easier now than our last trip (to Seoul, where I brought lots of junk).

 

Ready for the longest bus ride of my life --- Givenchy duffle luggage, black Prada nylon messenger, Prada saffiano trick and a camera tripod

 

It was hard to leave the tripod behind, even if it could no longer fit into the luggage bag. I wanted to take good pictures of our trip, and I don’t have the most stable camera hands to yield non-out-of-focus shots. I would just have to carry it freely because I also wanted to try photographing the night sky, free from light pollution!

We will arrive tomorrow at around 6:00 AM in Laoag and we will be staying there until Tuesday night. Most of Mon’s family are already there, and I can’t wait to see the place where he grew up. Manila, see you on Wednesday! =D

Winter in Seoul – Day 3: Nami Island

Winter in Seoul - Day 3 Nami Island - BRYOLOGUE

*extremely picture-heavy post*

(Applying for a visa to South Korea? You might want to read here how to quickly check the status online!)

Since we have started travelling together, Mon and I have never woken up early for the following day’s activities. We usually leave at around 10:00 AM the earliest, or even almost lunch time the latest.

However, it was different for the third day of our trip. I set my alarm clock at 7:30 AM because we had to travel all the way to Gapyeong to visit Nami Island (although the title of the post is misleading because Gapyeong is NOT in Seoul. It’s just a a bit of work to edit all the backlinks, though). We were to originally go to Petite France but we have half-decided the night before that our first priority was Nami Island, and should we have more time, then we’d visit Petite France.

 Map of the distance between Seoul and Nami Island --- Winter in Seoul December 2012 - Day 3: Nami Island

(CLICK PHOTO TO ZOOM) See how far Nami Island (upper right) from Seoul (lower left) is?

I already knew that it was no good because it was more difficult to go to-and-from Petite France due to the limited (and expensive) transportation options.

Truth be told, my only motivation to visit Petite France was the supposed convenience of it being situated in the same train route to Nami Island. But since we had already half-planned going to the War Memorial of Korea after, I was honestly more excited for it.

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Winter in Seoul – Day 1: Testing out the winter breeze

*extremely picture-heavy post

So, here starts the strenuous “Winter in Seoul 2012” series. As earlier mentioned, I will not be doing the typical day by day account of our trip, rather complement it with thematic and specific posts that can’t be elaborately explained within a ‘daily’ post, and that will include the breakdown of our budget for the trip (note: like all-in-all, with the tickets, accommodation and dues we paid in the Philipine airport, I have personally shelled out less than Php 25,000 for the whole trip. =D)

Our flight to Incheon International Airport wasn’t until 1:30 AM but we were already in NAIA Terminal 3 before 10:00 PM. When the check-in counters opened by 10:30 PM, we immediately rushed to present our itinerary ticket and paid for the Php 1,620 travel tax. The staff manning the counter also weighed in our baggages to check-in and even if they were already quite heavy, we were still almost 7 kilos short of our combined 30kg limit as we have already paid for 15kg each. It was actually our first time to check-in luggages because since we started travelling together, we only have two carry-ons each and has been used to travelling light. But as we were obviously travelling to a wintery place, our usual baggage won’t cut it.

Mon and I waiting for check-in at NAIA Terminal 3 for our flight to Incheon

Mon and I waiting for check-in at NAIA Terminal 3 for our flight to IncheonAt around quarter to 1:00 AM, we decided to head for the boarding gate. Going there, we had to first pay for the terminal fee, which was already lowered from Php 750 to Php 550. Then next to the immigration officer who had to take a look at our passports and ask questions on how long we will be out of the country, as well as our employment record. It took me only three minutes to finish the whole thing over, but Mon took a longer time. The immigration officer even mistook him for a Korean and immediately talked to him in English. LOL One more thing, they no longer made us remove our shoes, which wasn’t the case when we travelled last year. Good thing because I was already unknotting my laces when the security personnel stopped me.

Cebu Pacific weighing our check-in baggages and we were almost 7kg short of the combined 30kg limit

Cebu Pacific weighing our check-in baggages and we were almost 7kg short of the combined 30kg limit

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What a way to start my week

I was already running later for my errands today and Mon and I even had a little argument over my supposed schedule. I was just being my stubborn self again and refused to admit that I miscalculated my time and even went on with my one hour of exercise, instead of leaving early to go to the bank. Anyway, this small squabble was finished in less than thirty minutes and we were already laughing our heads off over how silly we were. The weather was quite unpredictable, so I thought of testing this pair of Red Wing boots for the first time:

Gray Play by Comme des Garçons T-Shirt, skinny khaki pants, Red Wing 875 6-inch boots, Givenchy luggage duffle bag - Manila, Philippines

So off to BPI in KPMG Building I went, input some detail and took a number. But it took me forever before my number got called, and to make matters worse, the teller just informed me right there and then that their system was offline and I had to manually fill out two sets of transaction slips, which they will process once the system was okay again. So that was causing the delay. I couldn’t understand why they did not bother telling the people right away (I mean there were really LOTS of people waiting) and handed out transaction slips for us to manually accomplish, instead of telling every person approaching the counter to do so. Very efficient. Anyway, I ended up with an “OFFLINE VALIDATED” slip and off to the office I rushed.

An 'OFFLINE VALIDATED' transaction slip from BPI

Before reaching the elevator, I asked another BPI branch by the ground floor of our building if the system was already online. I was informed that it just went running again a few minutes back. I hurried upstairs and called the other branch to ask if they have already processed my two transactions. It turned out, the teller gave me the wrong telephone number. I also had a second glance at the transaction slip and she had wrongly written a digit in the account number. I had no choice but to walk back again to their building and ask her about it. Mon went with me this time and I was swearing a lot on our way. Mon looked nervous because he probably thought that I might be having a fit, but I calmly approached the teller and asked her about what happened. I was actually surprised about my reaction because I would normally lash out but I began thinking few weeks back that I should really learn to control my temper. The only downside, though, was Mon becoming my unintentional shock-absorber of my cussing fit.

Burberry London Leather Messenger Bag

So what made me really determined to have that transaction completed? It was because I was paying for a (yet again) Burberry leather messenger bag I bought online, from the same  seller who sold me the LV Epi Noir Pochette Cles. She was extremely nice and easy to talk with. Besides, it will be my first ever Burberry and I love the fact that it is leather and not canvas! I already accepted the fact that I might not receive it tomorrow but I was surprised when the seller was able to ship it as she reached the cut-off. The bag in question will arrive tomorrow. A big thank you to her.

Bye bye! Mon Hermès Fourre Tout!

Of course, it might initially seem that I was out spending on another bag again but the truth was, I had to let go of another bag, the Hermès Fourre Tout I bought almost three months ago. I liked it but I never really got the chance to use it and it was only my sister who had the chance to take it out on my nephew’s birthday (as a diaper bag!). In the process of selling it, I ended up guilt-free because it was sold at a price more than the cost of the Burberry messenger, which did not leave me with less resources. I just looked at it as a trade and this bag deserves another person who will lovingly use it.

I know it will be quite hard for me to just kick off my habit of looking into having another bag, but I have learned that the first step of just selling the things I don’t use clearly leads the way to a better spending habit. More or less, I end up with a new bag with extra money to spare. The ultimate goal, however, was to extremely minimize my bags to just a little over six or make it seven. =P I know I’ll get there someday, one step at a time. Who knows, maybe before 2013 ends, that goal has been already achieved.

P.S.
Today marks my 5th year at work! Also, the birthday of Lolo Dada (paternal grandfather — R.I.P. Lolo) and Mon’s maternal grandmother, who we fondly call as Lola Groovy. =)