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…And time seemed to say. Forget the world and its weight, And here I just want to stay. Amazing day amazing day!!!

This pretty much summed up how I felt when the Coldplay concert in Manila ended. It’s ironic because they didn’t sing this song (one of my favorites in the AHFOD album) but in one way or another, I think a lot of people in the audience can agree that this experience was indeed an Amazing Day!

I’m not a regular concert goer because I thought I can spend my money somewhere else and I’m not a big fan of big crowds and parties either.

If I will list down the concerts that I’ve watched in the Philippines, it’s really not a lot and I can only count 5 (foreign acts only) prior to Coldplay.

  1. Backstreetboys
  2. Idina Menzel (just because Globe gave 2 complimentary tickets)
  3. Maroon 5 (the most recent one) – given to me as birthday gift
  4. Bruno Mars
  5. Keane – just because my friend had one extra ticket and no one else is available
  6. David Cook – because I was a really big fan back then

If there’s one thing in common in all those previous concerts, none of those were in the VIP section or even Platinum (just to prove my point that I’m not really fond of spending my hard-earned money for concerts :).

Then came the exception. When we found out last year that there’s a good chance of Coldplay stopping by in Manila for their A Head Full of Dreams Asian tour; my friend and I aimed for a VIP ticket and we told ourselves that we won’t settle for anything less.

That’s even before we found out how much would that cost us. All we know is it can be as high as $1000+ (Php50,000+) (basing from Madonna or J-Lo I think) and cannot be lower than Php20,000. We literally set aside and saved up money like 6 months prior just to get a VIP ticket.

The actual ticket price for a VIP ticket is Php22,500 and yes, it’s really expensive. We were expecting this much and in fact felt relieved because it’s half the price of what we really planned for. A lot of people can quickly judge that only fools will pay that much for a 2-hour event, line up and be with a very huge crowd and brave the heavy traffic; instead of relaxing comfortable at home; and that money we spent could have been spent elsewhere.

Yes, you are entitled to your own opinion but let me sum up the 10 reasons why it’s all worth it from my own perspective.

1. It’s a 17-year wait.

From it’s 1st album “Parachutes” in 2000 where the song Yellow became a hit; fans in the Philippines have been waiting for this tour. It finally came along in a sold-out concert held in Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on April 4, 2017 (Tuesday). 

We lined up early and we were already inside at around 5PM or 3 hours before the front act. The concert started past 9PM already. What’s a 4-hour wait compared to 17 years? Haha.

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2. Because they have more than enough good songs.

When Chris Martin answered the question on why it took them so long to come to the Philippines; he added that “we’ve been waiting, so we would have enough good songs“.  From the 23 songs (plus one bonus song) they’ve played that night; they really have more than enough good songs. They played all of my favorites except one (Amazing Day).

Below is the setlist given by the cameraman to my lucky friend right after the concert.

3. Their songs appeal to all ages and life status.

From the audience, I’ve seen people of different ages from teens to mature ones. I guess unlike other bands that cater to a specific group (e.g. teenagers, women etc.); Coldplay’s songs can appeal to a lot of people because it really varies. Whether you are heartbroken, or you need something to cheer you up, or a good song to listen to upon waking up or while bored or even before going to sleep, Coldplay’s music is really addicting. Some people say it’s overrated but I beg to disagree!

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4. The band is awesome and totally talented

While Chris Martin is the most popular because he’s the lead singer, Coldplay won’t reach Superstar status without the support of Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman. They play their instruments really well. The studio recordings are really good but watching and seeing them play live are beyond awesome!

5. Because It’s More Fun in the Philippines

After buying the ticket from the Globe Pre-Sale, I had second thoughts of watching it here in Manila primarily because of the venue and I can buy cheaper VIP tickets abroad. I searched for a ticket either in Singapore or Seoul (I will actually be there on a scheduled vacation when they hold the tour there).

Good thing I chose to watch in Manila. Filipino fans can party like no other and of course we can sing really good! Every time the band lowers the volume to let the audience sing along, it’s always a pleasure in the ears.

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6. The stage and light effects are world class! And oh yeah the fireworks!

Yeah, I initially didn’t like the venue since it’s an open concert ground (parking lot). However, due to the open venue, they managed to put up a huge stage with 3 giant screens (not including the ones in the other sections). The light effects totally exceeded my expectations. Last but not the least, they managed to have fireworks (I don’t think they’ll be able to do it inside MOA arena). I counted at least 3 (during the opening, in the middle and towards the end) and the songs were made extra wonderful as if all the lights up in the air were dancing with the tune. Please watch the video embedded at the end of this post for you to see what I’m talking about.

P.S. All members of the audience received Xylobands that light up with different colors based from the music and radio frequencies. It’s so fascinating to see every time we raise our hands. I’ve never been to a concert with Xylobands honestly so I don’t know if it’s been out there for a long time now or just recently (really clueless).

7. Because we don’t know for sure if they are coming back again.

Chris Martin promised that this won’t be the first and last time that they will hold a concert in Manila but you can never know for sure, right?

8. They sang a special song dedicated to the Filipino fans.

Yes, it appears like an impromptu song. They might have done it elsewhere with varying lyrics and tunes but I don’t care. It’s still touching to hear it. 🙂

Here’s the lyrics of the song taken from the Coldplay Philippines Facebook page. If you wanna hear it, check out the Youtube link below. 🙂

Just listen to how they sound in… Manila 🇵🇭

Thank you, Coldplay. #ColdplayManila #AHFODtour

Posted by Coldplay Philippines on Thursday, April 6, 2017

9. Because of Chris’ Dance Moves

I didn’t realize that Chris is a good dancer. Please watch the video at the end of this post to have a glimpse of his moves and all that jumping and running. I had the privilege of being right at the side of the stage so I got really good views.

10. Because the experience is surreal!

I won’t be able to describe the experience in full but I hope this video will make you regret not watching the show; only if you’re a fan. It’s been 3 days since the concert and I still feel exhilarated every time I remember the whole experience. Definitely the best concert ever.

And for those saying it’s not practical to spend over Php20,000 for a concert and making a big fuss about it in social media; I didn’t post this blog to convince you otherwise. All I can say is on that night, I didn’t buy the cheap drink (1 stub only per person) or the parking lot venue; nor the souvenirs (lanyard and poster). I went there for the experience and with the 10 reasons I’ve mentioned and probably more; I can say that it’s definitely worth it! 🙂

Okay, this post is long overdue (same with the rest of my travels for the past 5 years that never made it to this blog as of yet haha).

I booked a trip to Japan via Cebu Pacific 9 months prior because of a promo (only Php6800 round-trip). Back then (December 2014), they still have fuel surcharge so it’s really a very good deal. The trip I booked was not until September 2015 and this was supposedly a solo trip. I initially planned on backpacking in Japan for the 1st time and avail of the Japan Rail Pass for one week.

Lo and behold, my brother and 4 more friends joined me in this trip. I didn’t get to do my original plan but I can tell you that it’s six times the fun with these folks.

Here’s a quick preview of the 1st leg of our Japan trip and of course the 1st stop is no other than Tokyo, the country’s capital. We also visited Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya afterwards.

Before my 1st trip to El Nido, Palawan last year (September 2016), I’ve been to Palawan 3 times but in other areas (once in Puerto Princesa and twice in Coron). If you will ask me which one is my favorite, I can say El Nido right now but that’s not final because San Vicente and Amanpulo are still in my bucket list.

This was a post birthday trip and we stayed in El Nido Resorts’ Pangulasian Island. Trip Advisor ranked this as the #1 resort not only in Palawan but in the Philippines. After spending 3 days there, I will have to agree. It feels like Paradise!

This amateur video won’t give enough justice to describe this experience but I’m just gonna give it a try. At least I had a great time using Quik (the GoPro video editing app) for the 1st time. 🙂

I’m a newbie in video editing and I only used a video editing app from my iPhone. I’ll update this post with my detailed review of my Staycation in one of the newest hotels in Manila. I’ve stayed for my birthday September of last year and I totally loved it. I’m hoping to go back again this year.

Meanwhile, just check out the video below.

I came from Bulacan and I’ve been living in Metro Manila since college days from 1999 to present (yes it’s been almost 2 decades) so believe me when I tell you that when you talk about horrible traffic, toxic noise and pollution, overcrowded places and the like; I totally understand and feel what you mean.

Staycation

Living in the city (I reside in Makati) has its own pros and cons. And yes, urban living can be really stressful especially  I you can’t get that much needed vacation or out of town/country trips. But sometimes, a break from your daily routine is the very thing you need like enjoying a weekend outside your own place but still within the city. Yes, I mean trying to have some staycation.

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What are you waiting for? Let’s go! 🙂

Selling Period: March 15 – 19, 2017

exPH INT LP Banner

PAL Anniversary Seat Sale 2017 (Domestic)

PAL Anniversary Seat Sale 2017 (International)

img_3570This blog was last updated in 2010 or 6 yrs. ago when I still have all the time in the world to write about stuff haha. I’m still very busy with a full-time corporate job, a start-up travel agency and of course I’ve been traveling locally and abroad. I guess if you’re really passionate about something, you can (should) always find time to do it.

My goal is to feature a previous travel adventure/destination at least once a month and hopefully increase the frequency soon.

Friends and travel mates, let me know what you want to see first by choosing from the choices below. The top location (1 each for local and international) will be featured by the end of the month (hopefully :))

Local

  1. Canyoneering in Cebu
  2. El Nido, Palawan
  3. Manila Staycation Ideas
  4. Trek to Kalinga (Buscalan Village) – Meeting Wang-Od
  5. Caving Adventure in Pinipisakan Falls, Samar
  6. Beach Glamping Experience
  7. Top Beaches in the Philippines
  8. Sagada, Mountain Province

 

International

  1. Phuket, Thailand
  2. Bagan, Myanmar
  3. California (Los Angeles or San Francisco)
  4. San Antonio, Texas
  5. Dubai
  6. Sri Lanka Journey
  7. Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya)
  8. Xi’an, China (Terracota Warriors)
  9. Seam Reap, Cambodia
  10. Taiwan

 

Let me know! 🙂

He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. – Psalm 72:8 (NIV)

I turned 28 years old last month. A turning point in anyone’s life could be a major decision like going abroad, starting a family, venturing into a new business or for me; it’s a simple as discovering new things that you can be really passionate about such as diving.

Several months back, When AirPhil Express offered a round trip ticket from Manila to Davao for just 1,000 pesos; I booked a flight right away and contacted my Aunt whose family resides in Davao to let her know that I’m going there for a vacation. It’s either I climb Mt. Apo or I go for an open water diving certification; the latter I have been planning to do for more than a year now. My uncle, who is a certified diving instructor, offered his services so I started to see one of my dreams coming into reality.

DAY 1 started with the pool training in the morning and then we finished in the afternoon with a lecture to go over some of the important modules in the manual. Since there are only 2 students, we finished earlier than expected. The good thing is I was able to read the SDI training manual prior to the actual training. I had a hard time with the skills training on clearing the mask. Whenever I try to blow the water out, I keep on blowing from my mouth. Well, my uncle was very patient so I successfully did it after several tries. It’s really hard at the start to get yourself accustomed to breathing under water even if you are just under the pool and only a few feet deep. Well, the real adventure starts in the ocean.

DAY 2 started early for us to catch the diving boat courtesy of Carabao Diving Center. It is one of the newest diving centers in Davao City but they have gained the #1 status already. If you are looking for cheap buys, my uncle said this is the place you should visit. He was right! I got a pair of boots for just 1,000 pesos.

We went to Talikud Island, southwest from the famous Samal Island, and visited two diving sites. Just around 1 hour away, we started with Coral Gardens. It is famous for its sandy sea floor and base slopes. We had our first open water skills training here and we went as deep as 16.8 meters and stayed under the water for 39 minutes. Not bad for a beginner! Next stop is the Dapia dive site. I really had a hard time equalizing and my ears started to hurt but I managed to to go as deep as 20.8 meters. This one lasted for 44 minutes. This place has an amazing coral gardens and coral covered reefs. We tried to search for sea horses and although we did not find any, we had a feast of other sea creatures.

One of the cheapest open water diving certification in the country

DAY 3 – we went to Samal Island and again visited 2 diving sites to finish our certification. The first stop is San Juan. I’m not sure but I think this is the place where I found nemo and saw a sea snake for the first time in my life. We went as deep as 20 meters and the dive lasted 51 minutes. Lastly, we went to Marissa 2. The Marissa Dive site is actually 3 dive spots (1, 2 and 3) located southeast of Samal Island near Pearl Farm. It is a whole new world of unique deep sea features visible even at a shallow depth. The last dive was my deepest dive at 21.6 meters but my shortest dive because it only lasted for 27 minutes. Long story but let’s just say that I have to make an emergency ascent because of equipment malfunction.

My uncle trying to prevent me from ascending

Finding Nemo

My diving buddy Xandra and myself learning how to signal OK

The poisonous sea snake! Contrary to popular beliefs, this sea creature is very passive.

You can access my Multiply page to view more of the diving pictures.

My 28th birthday was the day I got certified as a diver. It was the same day when I literally ran out of air 10 meters deep and halfway through the dive because of an equipment malfunction. Thank God I managed to ascend just in time when the gauge showed 0% oxygen content.

Below is a video of “Still” – one of my all-time favorite songs courtesy of Hillsong Church. This video reminds me of one of my other struggles in the diving certification and that is trying to remain neutrally buoyant. A lot of times during the dive, I can’t keep myself from ascending. My uncle said, just remain calm and be still and you should see yourself go down in a few. It works! This song teaches us that despite our busy schedule wherein we are so much preoccupied with a lot of things and despite the daily challenges that we are facing, there is a God out there who can calm the raging seas and work in our lives. Under the water, I felt closer to God. I felt His creations spoke His majesty. Under the water, I have learned to be Still and experienced the beauty of God’s marvelous underwater creations.

The LORD does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. – NLT

A lot of my friends already asked me to visit other countries especially in the South East Asian region since they knew that I love to travel. I always say I wanted to and I think I can afford especially with the airfare promos being offered left and right. However, there’s only one reason why I can’t right now. I still don’t have a passport!

My friends are oftentimes surprised why I still don’t have one. I intend to but I have one major reason why I still can’t find myself in the DFA office. I don’t feel the urge yet to travel outside the Philippines given that I still have a lot of places to visit here. I started the passion to travel 2 years ago and since then I became an advocate of local tourism. My parents always ask me to limit it and start saving up for my future. However, the travels that I have made so far, although tiring, always make me feel rejuvenated with all the stress at work. I don’t think I will last working at night for almost 7 years now without it. After every trip, I always stand in awe of God’s creations. I could not thank Him enough for giving me eyes to explore the wonders of nature.

Since I can’t sleep, I tried to list down all the places I have been to so far. I hope I can still remember everything. I still feel I have not traveled a lot compared to my friend Aileen. My list is nothing compared to her LOL.

  • May 2006 – General Santos and Davao City (with side trip to South Cotabato) – my first airplane experience via Cebu Pacific with Rose, Echel, Israel, Kathleen, Jodi and Ate Dess. I went to Davao just for 1 day then traveled to General Santos City for a short-term missions trip. I won’t forget the buffet meal in Davao city for just 100 pesos and the taxi drivers who will give you your change even if it’s just 1 peso.

  • November 2007 – Bicol Region by land. My longest land travel up until now. Of course, we went to the Cagsawa Church Ruins and climbed up to 2/3 of Mt. Mayon by car. The food was really great in this part of the country!

  • July 2008 – Boracay Island, Aklan Province – my first real vacation via Sea Air with my cousin Zeiy and my brother Meldrin. I even re-booked my ticket to stay for one more day just to try para-sailing!

  • March 2009 – Coron Island, Palawan (Busuanga) – my first vacation via Zest Air with my Mom and brother Gerald and still with Zeiy and Meldrin. I’m planning to go back there next year and try the diving sites. My first fun hike at Mt. Tapyas happened on the 1st day then we went to Maquinit Springs, the only saltwater lake in the Philippines. Siete Pecados I think is the one of the best snorkling site in Palawan. We also went to Kayangan Lake, the cleanest lake in the Philippines, Awesome!

  • June 2009 – Bohol Island – same group of people as Coron’s but now with Zeiy’s husband (her boyfriend back then). My first PAL experience (Philippine Airlines). This place is famous for Chocolate Hills, the Philippine Tarsiers (I think the smallest monkey in the world) and the white beach of Panglao.

  • September 2009 – Boracay Island – my 2nd visit to the island to celebrate my birthday with Gladys, Robin, Elai, Caloy, Echel and Elo.

  • November 2009 – Calbiga, Samar (with road trips to Calbayog and Catbalogan City, Samar) with Aileen, C2, Paolo, Xian, Lei and Erwin.. I only booked my flight 2 days before the trip. This was the first time that my plane left me because I went to the wrong terminal. I can say that this is the most extreme adventure I ever had by living inside the cave for 2 days. We explored the Longun-Gobingob caves, the largest karst formation in Southeast Asia. Despite all the challenges, I’m planning to go back there on October.

  • January 2010 – Caramoan Island and CWC Watersports Complex, Camarines Sur with the Calbiga group less Erwin but plus my brother Meldrin and Berto. Caramoan Island was great but it was raining when we visited. I definitely want to go back there. We had fun in CWC trying wakeboarding for the first time. I think I’m athletic but this is definitely not my sport!

  • February 2010 – Puerto Princesa, Palawan. First time to be with my family except for my brother Gerald. We went there along with my brother Derick and his wife Jodi, my brother Meldrin and my parents. Of course we went to Honda Bay for snorkling and to the Underground River.

  • May 2010 – Batanes Island with Jaja. We got a buy 1 take 1 Seair promo from a Travel Expo. It’s a totally different world out there. Check my related post for this trip.

  • June 2010 – Tacloban City, Leyte and Jiabong, Eastern Samar plus a trip to Calicoan Island Western Samar – with Aileen, Berto, Xian, Paolo and my brother Meldrin. This was our 2nd caving adventure. Aside from spelunking, the food trip is indeed worthwhile but the road trip was very tiring. We went to Stefanies to try the buffet twice. This is a must when going to Tacloban.

Future Trips

  • August 2010 – Dumaguete and Siquijor
  • September 2010 – Davao to learn scuba diving
  • October 2010 – back to Samar f0r 3rd spelunking adventure

The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands…. – Deuteronomy 28:12 (NIV)

I prayed to God for the rain to stop. But God has a different plan. He wanted to show that he is sovereign in all things. He made the rain pour heavily into the streets of Fort Bonifacio for more than an hour. As usual, the Rock and Run event pushed through with no delay. There were no live bands that played along the route as  publicized previously, no concert afterwards (maybe there’s one but I left the event after I finished); but I can say that the event was one of my most memorable run so far.

Wet look after running in the rain for almost an hour

with my brother Meldrin

I joined the Rock and Run event yesterday (June 19th) in Fort Bonifacio for one major reason; it won’t be held on a Sunday morning unlike majority of the racing event out there. For me, Sunday morning will always be best spent in my local church in Bulacan. Before the race, we went to Fitness First to change clothes. When we are about to go to the starting line at around 5:25 PM, heavy rain started to pour. I looked at the dark clouds and I felt like it will never stop just in time for the gun shot at 6PM. My running buddy Aileen decided not to risk her health and went back inside the gym to just run in a treadmill. I initially hesitated but my adventurous nature still convinced me to give it a try. This would be another experience that I will definitely cherish and I’ll just worry about the aftermath of possibly getting a cold or a flu.

Starting line before the rain

While still raining heavily, the 10K race started at around 6:05PM. The band tried to play but I think they have to turn off the sound system for safety reason so they just improvised using drum rolls to keep the excitement going. The participants (including me) started shouting while running. We heard thunders but the noise coming from the runners was loud enough to keep us going. After around 10 minutes, you can only hear the constant rain drops. There was no more shouting. I guess it started to sink in that we are running wet all through out with heavy wet shoes and clothes. I was afraid that I won’t finish the race. There were some flooded areas that made the route even more difficult. Worst, I was  forced to look down while running because my face and eyes cannot bear the heavy rain. Knowing that it’s a bad move to look down while running (we always have a tendency when we get tired), I looked up and told myself “let it rain, let it rain”. To my amazement, the rain gave me renewed strength. I started to run faster than ever, since I started racing last February. I finished the race in 54 minutes and 40 seconds. Thank God! I never went below 1 hour in a 10K run. This was my best finish so far after a 1:01 clock time last April in the Mizuno run. Congratulations as well to my brother Meldrin for finishing in the 5K category.

Literally, this event is indeed a wet and wild experience. While the race is fondly called “Rock and Run” because they are supposed to feature live band performances from the stage and along the route, it turned out to be “Rain and Run”. Thanks to the organizers for still pushing through. I know they hesitated as well because they didn’t expect the sudden change in the weather but I want to give a big KUDOS to them for still letting us experience running while raining. I did not hear any complaints about misleading signs, incorrect turns etc. I will definitely not criticize them for not having the “Rock” atmosphere because it is no longer important that night. Congratulations to all, with brave souls, finished their respective events (3k, 5K, 10K). For those who chose not to continue (I saw several people who decided to stay in the gym or just joined the spectators), you have made a good choice for not risking your health but you missed all the fun! Even though I failed to bring my iPod touch (I always play music while running), the song in my heart motivated me to give my 100% strength. God made it rain for a specific reason, so I said in response “let it rain, let it rain!”.

More pictures in my Flickr page here.

Watch the You Tube video of Michael W. Smith’s song entitled “Let It Rain”.

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