Monday, May 30, 2011


"The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist."
-Russell Baker

It is bad enough when the locals can tell you're a tourist, what more if the other tourists can?  Here are some reasons why it is always good to put on the I'm-not-a-tourist look.
  • You will look smart.  Like you know your way around, you know where you want to go, and you know how to get there.
  • You'd less likely become a prey of pickpockets.
  • Market and souk vendors won't overprice their goods.
  • In general, people won't take advantage of you.
When in another country, we like it when we somehow blend with the locals, like we really belong there (don't get us wrong, we also love it when we stand out HAHA but only up to a certain extent).  But when we say 'blend', we also don't mean blend-blend as if Cleopatra came back to life in Egypt.  Don't go looking costume-y while losing your own personal style.
channeling Cleopatra

In line with this, we both realized it's easy to tell when a tourist is a fellow Filipino.  We present to you...

The Fashion Anatomy of a Filipino Tourist.

don't forget the white socks!

oops she forgot the umbrella.
Okay maybe we exaggerated it a little.  But you get the idea! Filipinos always tend to bring the same pieces of clothing when traveling, even those that are weather-inappropriate.  Like a windbreaker for winter, or boots (automatically packed) even when it's summer in Japan.  We hope none of you will take this negatively as we are not in any way making fun of anybody in particular.  In fact, even our own dads look like the guy in the picture whenever abroad hahaha.  We are always 100% proud of being Filipino.  We're just saying... if you're already wearing more than 4 items in the illustration, maybe it's time to stop there.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011


We were ecstatic to discover that Samantha Brown's Passport to Europe: Madrid episode, which aired in 2005, mentioned La Barraca as the maker of the best paella in Madrid.  We were like "Hah, we've been there, high five!"
In 2007 while in Madrid, we decided it's a must to eat really good paella.  Since we didn't do any prior research and it was just a we're-not-doing-anything-special-for-lunch-so-lets-think-of-something decision, we just asked a local if she can recommend a good Paella place.  The local immediately pointed us towards La Barraca.  We were not convinced so we asked a few more and they all said the same so we figured it must really be the place to go.  It's just a short walk from Gran Via where our hotel is located, but we kinda had a hard time finding the place.  They don't have any screaming signs and it doesn't look majestic at all from the outside. 
Looking back at our photos plus a visit to their website after learning about Passport to Europe's feature on La Barraca made us realize that we were seated on the restaurant's most famous Original Room.  The original room maintained the same Valencian decoration since they opened in 1935.  Guess we were quite lucky, to think we didn't make any reservations and just walked-in
La Barraca's Original Room
photo from
There were 5 of us and we ordered the La Barraca Mixed Paella and Paella Negra, together with a few more starters that we don't even remember.  They don't serve the paella on your table and they keep the paella pans instead.  They just refill your plate everytime you need it.  It was only after we're done eating when we found out we didn't even consume half of the paellas.  We were like "OMG ipabalot naten ang left-overs HAHAHA". Of course we didn't. 

Also, their food isn't what we would call cheap.  Our total bill amounted to more or less 300 euros.  They price their paellas per person, not per order.  Don't be deceived with the menu if it says the paella is only 15-20 euros because they'd still multiply that to how many you are in your group.  Not fair especially if you want to try let's say 3 kinds of paella, because you'd end up paying triple when you will consume the same amount of food anyways.  Wtf even the drinking water is not free. 

So do they really make the best paella?  We don't know.  While talking about it before this blog post, we don't remember anything special or extraordinary about their paella.  We were thinking maybe because we are not constant paella eaters so we couldn't recognize a good one from a bad one.  Or maybe because we went for "generic" paellas, and both are like the Filipino Sinigang -- no matter how they're cooked, they all kind of end up tasting the same.  Or maybe because even the paellas we have in Manila are equally good.

Nonetheless, it was a good experience for us.  And as always, it's not the food that makes a meal good, but the company!
our friends Krish, Cara and Lyd

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

1001 THINGS WE DID BEFORE WE DIE: Get amazed with the Pyramids of Giza


While looking at our Bohol pictures, Macy got frightened at what she saw...

Baclayon Church
Macy: OH MY GOD! Is that Padre Pio on the wall?
Karol: Da Hu?? Where!?
Macy: There!! Sa likod natin! Sa wall ng Baclayon! (highlighted with a circle) Pangitain! OMG! 
Karol: Haller, that's Marc Jacobs.
Macy: Huwaaaat!?
Karol: Bakit naman magpapakita si Padre Pio sa atin? I am sure that's Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs it is.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

1001 THINGS WE DID BEFORE WE DIE: Explore the Tunnels of Cu Chi

We're starting this series of posts that we decided to call "1001 Things We Did Before We Die".  We originally wanted to name it the "501 Things We Did Before We Die", but we got scared that we might reach 501 by the time we're 40 years old.  So, we agreed to make it 1001 just to be sure we don't die anytime soon.

The idea started when Macy got this 501 Must-visit Destinations travel journal from Fully Booked.  Karol said the idea is ridiculous because one will just end up getting depressed looking at all those places, knowing that it's impossible to accomplish everything.  
Macy's Travel Journal.  Please excuse the doodle on the cover.  Macy can be like that sometimes.
As fate would have it, Karol got the book version last Christmas as a gift from RCBC (what the ef happened to banks giving out umbrellas and canvas pouches for Christmas!?!?!).  It's like we're born to fulfill a mission that we can't just ignore.  Hahaha.  
Karol's book of 501 Must-Visit Destinations
Together, we found ourselves ticking every check box and marking every page of places we've been to.
We all know how many 101, 501, or 1001 lists there are already, and so to avoid confusion, we figured we'll just make our own list for ourselves.  And to make it less depressing, we'll list down the things we already did (in no particular order!) instead of whining over things we haven't done.  Without further ado, here is the first on our list!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We are not perfection because we are not English spokener all the times, but we always notice the wrong grammings of the other peoples hahaha.  Everytime we travels and see many mistakings, we picture it then smile or laughing defending on the gravity of the wrongdoing.  Here are many plentyful of photos we shot in difference part of the earths. Injoy!

Wow, cellphones could speak!
a sign at the Great Wall of China
Thank God your watch won't have AIDS!
at a hotel in Beijing
The emperor cake's new clothes!
a store in Kagoshima
PDC - Picturing Development Center
a photo processing center in Kagoshima
It's all very well.  But actually.... Oh wellzzz!!!
from one of the shops in Shinsaibashi
A sosh version of "Happy ValentiMes"
right outside Tokyo's Disneysea
I want you to burn.  Burn for me baby.
a menu in Macau
I'm confuse, I'm cannot understand, But I'm feel welcome.
a hotel brochure in Beijing
So what is it really? Mother's Day or Teacher's Day??
at a store window display in Osaka
Eto carry mo!?
a tarpaulin ad in Macau
Ha!? Ano daw???
a coin purse in Beijing
This leaves you as the better 1/4 (only).  Oh, and liver has never sounded this sweet.
coin purses in Beijing

Friday, May 20, 2011


We just found out that Shell has an ongoing promo for a chance to win a trip to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
We were lucky to have been able to visit this indoor theme park before its Grand Opening.  The place looks huge in photos but really, it's only like a bigger version of Glico's in Quad (Haha!).  Allow us to share some photos that we took.

Just right outside the theme park, before getting in, we saw lots of people wearing their abayas.  We wondered how they're going to ride the roller coaster in those
Anyhoo we bought our tickets as soon as we got to the entrance. 
The park has lots of activities for kids like this puzzle where they can build their own little ferrari.  It's so cute!
They also have this miniature track with toy Ferrari Cars.  Look at the steering wheel, just like in real F1 cars. 
There were lots of other interesting Ferrari stuff but we will jump to the main attraction... the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world!  It accelerates from 0-240kph in 4.9 seconds!
As soon as we got there, our first question had been answered.  They provided red hooded raincoat-looking suits with the Ferrari logo for those who are wearing abayas.  Kinda like this:
photo from
They also provided goggles for those sitting at the front.
We thought it'd be really cool if we wear the glasses so we aimed for the front seats. Haha.  Here's a video of F1 drivers Massa and Alonso riding the Formula Rossa.  Macy took Massa's seat while Karol took Alonso's.
See? Even those F1 drivers' faces were indescribable.  We swear we thought our shirts were gonna get ripped.  Our faces almost got deformed and we realized the need for a pair of goggles... our eyeballs are gonna pop out if we didn't wear one haha!

To end this post, here's a pair of Ferrari for Tod's driving loafers in yummy red suede that we saw in one of the shops there.

What can we say about this experience?

Or in Arabic...
Okay we're not sure if it says the same.  We just assumed hahaha.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Since Philippine Fashion Week has just officially ended, we remember it was also during Fashion Week that we first travelled together. That was Hong Kong Fashion Week 5 years back. We never really thought that we’d be travel buddies. In fact we hated each other the first time! Haha!!
with our classmates, Rica and Jayce
2006 HK Fashion Week for Fall/Winter
But what made this trip so memorable is the scam that was BANATE TOURS AND TRAVEL. Our school organized everything for us in cooperation with Banate Tours and Travel. (What a name! We just have to say it again!) We actually preferred to arrange the bookings by ourselves but then our school said we have to be under their supervision so they must take care of everything.

We paid them USD200 for airfare and accommodation.  It was too good to be true, we know, but since there were around 20 of us, we thought the agency gave us a really good discount.  The day before the flight, they suddenly asked for an additional USD100 each! That short notice got us thinking that something’s not right. Still, we paid and waited for our tickets and vouchers the rest of the day, only to go home empty-handed.  We’re told to just show up early morning for our flight in NAIA Terminal 2.  

On the day of the flight, we got our tickets.  But, still no hotel vouchers!! WTH! We sensed that something was really up but our teacher assured us that everything’s okay (although we can see the worry in her face).  When we arrived at HKIA, no one was there to pick us up.  Our teacher called the agent from Banate and we were told to wait.  We spent the WHOLE DAY waiting at the airport and of course, that got us impatient.  So, we moved our asses together and came up with another plan.  Because it’s already clear to us that we got duped by Banate, we called our agent back home (without our teacher’s knowledge) to find us a hotel.  Luckily our agent was able to get us a room at the hotel right across the HK Exhibition & Convention Center.  It was hard to find hotel rooms last-minute at that time of the year because it was fashion week, so even if it’s pricey, we just had to give it a go.  We ended up paying (last-minute, take note! ughh!) a total of almost PHP50k for our 3-night stay.  Just for one room!  Good thing there were 4 of us who shared.  As for our teacher and other classmates, they ended up looking for hotels, luggage in tow.  Some spent one night here, another night there.  As for Banate, they got sued by our school and it took them quite a few months before they were able to give us a USD150 refund each. 

Apparently, Banate Tours and Travel got sued many times over. Just Google "Banate Travel" and find out. 

Lesson learned: choose a travel agency wisely.  If it’s too good to be true,
then most likely... it is.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Finding someone who can travel with you isn't easy.  You can ask a hundred friends and they would all love to go, but not all of them would be really willing to shell out for a trip.  Even if you find some who'd be willing, it's not guaranteed that you'd want to visit the same city.  Even if you find someone who'd want to visit the same city you're interested in, you might find out later on that your schedules do not match. And even if (luckily) both your schedules agree and you decided to push through with your plans, you might just realize that YOU.DONT.GET.ALONG.

"There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." -Mark Twain

Yes, you get along with each other so well back home. Fine. But the thing is, back home, you don't spend breakfast, lunch, and dinner together everyday.  You don't sleep on the same room every night.  You don't really discuss if visiting a museum is a worthier way to spend the afternoon than going shopping.  As soon as you step foot on an unfamiliar place, outside your comfort zone, it is completely normal to have a different set of priorities and concerns. 

"It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion." - An African Proverb
Of course you can't ditch each other in the middle of your trip just because you realized you don't like each other, but one good way to overcome this or at least make things a little easier is to give each other their own time.  Make each other feel that it's totally normal and okay if one would like to spend an afternoon in a cafe, while the other spends her time oggling at the shops.

"Travel only with thy equals or thy betters.  If there are none, travel alone."
-The Dhammapada
We are lucky because we, Macy and Karol, are equal.  As in EQUALLY BAD.  Hahaha.  A perfect example is how much we agree on "maintaining" (or, not maintaining) the room that we share.  Our room will always start looking like:
The Royal Pacific in HK
The next day, after dressing up, it will be like:
Costa Luminosa cabin
Or after eating takeaways it will be like:
Genius Downtown Hotel in Milan
It's like we have a mutual agreement that states It's absolutely okay to be messy because the housekeeper will clean it later anyway.  No we don't want to give the housekeeper a hard time, it's just that... we're messy.  Sometimes we feel bad especially if the housekeeper is kinda old already.  We try to make it up though by doing little things like:
A note for our housekeeper from Honduras.  We wanted to add "We never intended our room to get this messy and we're sorry because we know you're probably so tired already of cleaning other people's mess.  We'll try to do better tomorrow." but Macy's Basic Spanish Phrases App for Iphone doesn't have that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We find it a bit surprising that even in cities considered as fashion forward, freaky knock-offs still find their way into fashionable foreign shores. It’s also funny how you find some clever designs from the original mutate into a fake monstrosity. Say a Speedy wannabe with the chunky chains of the Stam bag all over, isn’t that scary? hahaha! Seriously, these are creations of design geniuses and they’re not priced as such for nothing. We’d rather buy local or brandless stuff than support those counterfeit producers. Jazzz saying!

Here are some photos we took during our trips.  Let's start with an assortment of Hermes Birkins.

From simple knock-offs...
hermes birkin from a market in Shanghai
to deadly crocodile ones...
croc birkin in Milan
to the most ridiculous you'll ever find.
monster birkins in Korea
 There are all the other premium designer bags as well.
LV and Prada knock-offs in Italy
purse galore in Italy
And other sorts of accessories to match!! Haha.
shiny shimmery scarves in Italy
belts at a market in Vietnam
sandals from Cyprus