iTravel NZ: Paragliding in Queenstown

Queenstown is well-known for extreme activities (i.e. bungy jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, paragliding, etc). I have chosen to try paragliding this summer and I will never regret it. My friend and I booked from GForce few days before the trip and we were able to get discount. This activity is weather dependent and it was nearly cancelled due to strong wind on our scheduled time. Fortunately, I managed to ask the management if we can do it ahead our schedule and we did it! From the Skyline Gondola, we were brought to a mountain with good view of Queenstown and nearby places.

The experience was superb! It was indeed an amazing 10-15 minutes of my life. Dan, the professional guide, was very awesome and generous to extend the paragliding experience.

WHY I DID IT?

Physical fitness. I still have the energy to do the things that I can possibly at this age so why not? Maybe 10 years later my body will not be as responsive as how it is nowadays so I might as well go for it.

Time. It is summer vacation at university so I can steal time and do things which I cannot do during school days.

New experience. I have always wanted to experience flying in the air to overcome my fear of heights. Few years ago, one of my students showed me his photo paragliding and I thought it was awesome and told myself I’ve got to try it someday–and that someday is this day.

History. A story I can look back on and share to my dear ones today and someday.

WHAT TO EXPECT (GFORCE experience)

  • You will have to book in advance and check weather update before and during your schedule.
  • You will be weighed. 🙂
  • You will be taken to the mountain by car or by foot.
  • You MAY be allowed to take photos BEFORE the adventure but you will not be allowed to use any device DURING the paragliding.
  • You will be briefed as to what to do and what to expect.
  • You will glide and fly!
  • While paragliding, the professional guide will talk and talk with you, take photos and videos.
  • You will be asked if you are comfortable to do the GForce move (roller coaster experience). I did!
  • You ask questions. Communication is a two-way process.
  • You will be asked to pay for the photos and video if you want to have it as souvenir.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • You must wear closed in footwear i.e. trainers shoes.
  • Dress warmly as the air can be cold once you start flying.
  • Max weight is 110kgs & minimum weight requirement is 30kgs
  • Photo & video options available for purchase ($50 for video & photo pack)
  • The Gondola ride is not included in the price & must be purchased on the day at the Skyline ticket office at the base of the gondola. Cost is $32 for adults & $20 for kids. Alternatively you can hike up the walking track which takes about 45 minutes. Your hand will be stamped once you have checked in which allows you to ride the gondola back to the top for free
  • Flight time is weather dependent. Make sure to check the weather update in their site
  • Suitable for people of all ages, shapes and sizes (moderate level of fitness and agility required)
  • Enjoy the experience

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👣The Official Traveler

 

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Volunteering: Christmas Parade in Auckland

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Taken at the Farmers Santa Parade 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand

Christmas in New Zealand is incredible. To kick off the festive season, a parade is usually organised every year where amazing floats, inflatables, and entertainment groups galore are showcased in late November to early December. There are two things you can do when in Auckland during this time of the year. You can either be part of the crowd as viewers or become a volunteer to put smile on people’s faces. Choose the latter at least once while in New Zealand if you can.

You can become a parade volunteer by taking the opportunity to dress in costume and participate in the Parade! This year, I had a privilege to help out in this activity. Everything is well-organised and not stressful at all. Yes, volunteering can be physically draining sometimes BUT personally speaking, there is enormous joy I have experienced in this. Having a privilege to put smiles on people’s faces is a way of giving love this Christmas.

If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.  If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.  If you want to touch the future, touch a life today! 🙂

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iTravel NZ: Tranquility at Mt. Eden!

One of the most iconic places in New Zealand is Mt. Eden. It is located approximately 4 kilometers from Auckland CBD (15-20 minutes). It is the most prominent volcanic cones in the region which erupted about 15,000 years ago from three overlapping scoria cones. It formed a huge scoria mound with a central crater from the last eruption. If you are traveling to New Zealand, take a walk to the Summit! It is worth the panoramic view and it’s FREE!

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After the excruciating university assessments last quarter, it is time to reward myself with few adventures this vacation. Let me share some. 🙂

Commuting to Mt Eden Village is easy and you can do it by yourself. There are two services available; a fast and regular commuter service and a scenic service that takes in the other suburbs and key destinations in Auckland.

HOW TO GET THERE

Departing at Britomart Station, you can take bus number 274 or 277 to Mt Eden Village return every 15 minutes, 7am to 7pm every day. Buses leaving approximately every 30 minutes. If you are taking the bus, don’t forget to bring your AT Hop card.

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Reflection: Life at the Business School

The board meeting is over. So, what now? Ten weeks have passed and I still could not contain how fast that was! I took three subjects for my first quarter and it was not easy. In fact, I have had the best time and the worst time. But I cannot discount the fact that I have learned so much. I am glad I remain bold, strong, and will survive! My Classes for Q1 include the following:

1. Managing People and Organisations (http://www.courses.business.auckland.ac.nz/CoursePdfs/BUSMGT711.pdf)

This subject taught me several theories and practice management using a multidisciplinary business simulation program called Mike’s Bikes. I became the CEO of a prestigious bicycle company called, “Trailblazers”. Our bicycle products were Racer, Adventure, Leisure, Commuter, and Kids. I was the only female CEO who made it to Europe. It was challenging to lead a multi-cultural company at the beginning because of communication (language barrier) and natural culture each manager possesses but my swift adaptability to changes and flexibility lead me to deal with it. With the willingness of my team, I have created an organisational culture that worked for our company. A culture of engagement, fun, and connectivity. My team-based leadership approach made it easier for the managers to freely and openly suggest in order to aid me on well-thought business decisions. I managed to lead Trailblazers to be the top performing company in Europe market consistently for five years.

2. Economics for Managers
This class taught me business economics which basically deals more on economic theory and quantitative methods to analyze business enterprises and the factors contributing to the diversity of organizational structures and the relationships of firms with labour, capital and product markets. But it is more than that! This course made me write academic writings, drew and analyzed graphs, and recommended policies to promote economic growth. Honestly, this one gave me sleepless nights 😀 Oh, I just had my excruciating final exam last night! I’m just glad I am still alive.

3. Professional Development Plan
I enjoyed my tutorial class in this course. The teaching staff is full of energy, well-organised, and managed time very well. Some of the things I’ve learned are: How to use STAR technique in answering behavioral questions; Self-Analysis and Personal Development Planning; Mt. Everest Challenge where you work with teams and learn the value of sharing information to survive; Trust and Feedback (REAL and RITE); Career Development Planning; Boost my confidence through a Video Presentation and; Read McKinsey and Harvard Business Review articles. More importantly, I have known the Top 10 skills I need to develop in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Top 10 Skills 2020.png

QUARTER ONE REALISATION

  1. I should use British English more often.
  2. Everybody is genius in class. ‘How do you make yourself standout?’
  3. What’s my personal brand?
  4. Networking is a skill I must develop
  5. Every decision in life has a cost. Even the decision of not making any decision triggers opportunity cost. So, I just stay calm and study.
  6. In business, we make decisions and every decision has consequences.
  7. Exam success doesn’t define you as a person.
  8. The struggles I have today can be the strength I need tomorrow.

Overall, student life at Business School can be challenging at times but if I have the courage to begin, then I must have the strength to succeed.

iTravel NZ: Welcome Spring at Cornwall Park (One Tree Hill)

There are some things in life that fill your heart even without trying–pets, flowers, and cherry blossoms. After a tedious week, students also need to take a time off. Carley and I decided to go to Cornwall Park to grab some fresh air to rejuvenate and these are what we randomly found:

With just 15-20 minute drive from the Auckland Central Business District, you will be able to get a taste of farm life where 700 sheep and 120 cattle graze its pasture. This park surrounds the famous One Tree Hill in New Zealand.

This spring, as the park bursts into colour and life, why not pack a picnic and take the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular beauty of daffodils and blooming cherry blossom trees that herald the new season. Have a look at lambs and calves playing in the paddocks nearby!

HOW TO GET THERE
A. From Britomart Train station, take Bus 595 to One Tree Hill Central station.
B. From the Warehouse New Market, take 302 One Tree Hill Central station.

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iTravel NZ: Spring in Auckland Domain

Spring is here!

It’s been a month since I arrived in New Zealand. Time flies fast! The Uni has kept me busy with school stuff almost every day. Missing home, I keep consoling myself that I should take courage and be strong. As I looked outside the University of Auckland Business School’s Owen Glen G. Building (OGGB), I noticed the Cherry Blossoms in bloom outside. It is such a great reminder that there is hope, there is healing, there is peace and there is GOD. I am not alone.

That same day, a friend gave me a call to go to Auckland Domain. So while the weather is good, we went. Isn’t it beautiful?

HOW TO GET THERE

From the University of Auckland OGGB in 12 Grafton Rd., follow the cross walk heading to North. The Auckland Domain is just across the OGGB.

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NZAS #6: 12 Things To Keep In Mind Before And Upon Arrival To New Zealand

Kia Ora!

It’s been a week since I arrived in New Zealand. It still feels like a dream but this is it. The long wait, the long queue, and the long air travel were all worth it. I am now officially starting my new journey here. So where do we start from here?

1. Make sure you have booked your accommodation prior to your arrival. As a scholar, you will be provided with accommodation solutions as soon as you confirm the scholarship offer. You will have to consider the pros and cons and decide from the plenty of options provided for you. If you are not familiar about how to get around near your university, it is best to choose the University accommodations as they are generally accessible and convenient. The only downside is that it comes with a price (don’t worry, it is still within your allowance kaya lang tipid moments). Be mindful that there are some universities (i.e. University of Auckland) that will require you to submit an application for accommodation. If you wish to stay at a more affordable place, the Accommodation Solutions (you will receive an email) will give you options.

2. Once you secure your accommodation you need to book your airport pick up (if applicable). In the case of the University of Auckland, you will receive an email with a link so you can book one. You need the exact address of your accommodation and the number of luggage you will be bringing.

3. ALWAYS check the baggage allowance allotted for you. The scholarship will normally grant you the economy baggage allowance (e.g. 30kg) so if you are bringing in more items then you need to prepare for extra charges. As a personal tip, you just have to bring things within the allotted baggage allowance to avoid inconveniences. If you are coming in with your family, send your balikbayan box/es one month in advance if it is really necessary (for sure, mauuna ka pang makakarating kesa sa padala mo).

4. Print out your ticket, visa/e-visa, scholarship letter and letter of offer from the university in preparation for any interrogations it may occur during your travel. You will also need these documents when you process your university requirements later on.

5. Pack light but pack the essentials (i.e. foldable umbrella, ballpens, markers, sticky notes, notebook/notepad, calculator, cosmetics). The ones I mentioned are some of the expensive items I have found in NZ. For instance, a pen (parang Panda lang) costs around 5 NZD, umbrella costs 20-25 NZD (hindi pa yan automatic). Remember to pack your passport, cellphone, charger and power bank.

6. Check your email regularly for updates. You need to check some advisory and essential updates regarding your flight schedule, airport pick up, and other things related to your travel to New Zealand.

7. Buy a New Zealand sim card. If you need to contact someone (i.e. the driver  upon your arrival, you can buy your sim card at the airport. Remember to activate it and register online. It comes with mobile data if you avail the package. I got a Vodafone sim card at the airport. The sim card costs 5NZD and top up with 30 NZD for combo package. (mobile data, calls, and unlimited text messages). You can download the mobile application for ease of transactions and to monitor your remaining balance.

8. Drop by the International Student Office for courtesy call, a welcome pack, and some instructions (UoA).

9. Claim your student ID at the Student Center Office. If you can get a tertiary sticker, do so. The sticker is essential if you usually commute because you will have 40% discount on your AT Hop card.

10. Open your bank account. For you to receive your allowance, you need a bank account. You need your student ID and your passport. Make an appointment with ANZ bank or BNZ bank. Mine is ANZ Bank because it is very accessible to the University.

11. Get an AT Hop card. This is essential if you commute every day. AT Hop card costs around 10 NZD and you need to top up with some amount for you to use. Make sure to activate it and register online. You should also apply for concession to finally avail of the 40% discount. Your student ID number will be required. You also need to download AT Hop application on your mobile phone.

12. Check the nearest grocery and department store from your location. You just arrived and you need to eat. If you live in Auckland Central Business District, the grocery is just few minutes walk. You can check Warehouse, Countdown or the Asian Store. At this moment, Google Maps is very useful. You can survive 🙂

So basically, these are just some of the essential tips I can share with you based on my personal experience as you begin your journey to New Zealand. Remember, if you have the courage to begin, you’ll surely have enough courage to succeed. Shine on!

If you have the courage to begin, you surely have enough courage to succeed.

👣The Official Traveler

A Soldier’s Symphony in the Battlefield

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

We lie in the bush while you lie on your beds at the comfort of your home
We sleep beside our guns while you sleep beside your wives
You sleep in your house, we sleep in hemas
You wear nice hats, we wear heavy helmets
You wear designer’s vests while we wear iron vest

In the morning, you are awaken by sweet alarm tones while we were awaken by horrible sound of bombs and grenades
You move around town in range rovers and latest cars while we move in tanks and buffalos
We stay awake for you to sleep
We kill for you to live
We stand side by side with death itself so that the future of your generation can be assured

We sacrifice our today for your tomorrow
We are strong at heart, great in action, committed to our course, and loyal to our nation
We are soldiers with great zeal and gallantry
We fight relentlessly to win the battle
We continue to fight to fight to conquer insurgency and terrorism

If it is not too much to ask, please pray for us while we are here in the battlefield..
..to conquer in victory so that we can return to our dear family, friends, and loved ones
To the fallen heroes we pray they continue to live on while we fight to the end in victory

In God we trust,
-The Mighty Soldiers

Dear Workaholic! ღ

via Daily Prompt: Foggy

Dear Workaholic,

It’s one foggy afternoon when I began to notice you. I have been observing you every single working day just like today. Hey, time check! It’s more than a couple of hours past the hour of 5pm. Why are you still inside your cubicle? Ooopps, don’t tell me you’re going to take that work at home again. You’ve already missed your dinner with your family. Your “I’ll-just-finish-this-in-few-minutes” have flown fast and you even forgot your date with Mr./Ms. Right. It’s Friday night and your co-workers have already gone out for Friday blues. How about you? You are still busy working. Work. work. work. I guess you need to be reminded of this:

To a company, you are just an employee. The day you resign, your work cubicle will be replaced. Your absence will only be missed for a day then the company forgets you. Do you think you are that special for jobs well done in the past? Don’t flatter yourself too much.  Before you know it, the management have already moved on. They went on to make their money or go on with their usual operation for they need to. Hence, they don’t have time to grieve because of the expectations they have to fulfil.

I wonder why do you have to be selfless, heroic and workaholic. What made you stay that long? How come you love your work so much that you are willing to sacrifice that much? Undoubtedly, I must admire you for your passion for work and your loyalty to your superior but I also notice that at times the executives make mistakes and it come with a price,  you are the one who would mostly pay for the consequences.

My friend, before you take that OT– ‘Oh, Thank-you’ duty, may I remind you not to mix work with family. Do not take your work home, cast your family aside and forget about giving time to your loved ones–you children, your husband, your wife, and dear friends–because in their hearts you are never replaced.  When you’re gone, every day you’ll be missed. If anything happen to you, it would be your family and friends are crying like crazy for you. To them, even though you are just one person, you mean the world to them.

Your job is just a job but family is forever. So reset your priorities. Be a good worker but be a better father/mother/friend/daughter/son as well.

With much love,

👣The Official Traveler

Travel Quezon: Real Extreme Adventure Park (Corporate Teambuilding Activity)

TMSD (1)

Need some inspiration for your next corporate teambuilding or team outing? Well, I am still having positive vibes from our recent activity which was held at the Real Extreme Adventure Park in Real, Quezon. It is a 6–hour drive via Antipolo, Tanay from Nueva Ecija (or 2.5 hours from Manila) but the long hour drive was worth it. Oh, by the way, the astonishing view of the Windmill Farm down to Famy, Laguna is a bonus. If the weather permits, don’t miss it!

I have saved  video/snapshot memories to look back on, yay!

Ultimately, it was a great experience that brought significant impact and emotional recovery. Everyone is hopeful for a long-term impact of the two-day activity.

CONTACT DETAILS (as of July 2017)

(02) 505-8024 / 0977-859-1133

IN-HOUSE PROGRAMS
  • Teambuilding
  • Training Workshop
  • Camping
  • Conferences
  • Events Venue
PACKAGES
Package A: The Day-tour Package
Price: Php550/head
*Add Php150 full board meals for at least 50 persons
  • Entrance Fee
  • Common CR
  • Swimming pool
  • Function hall with monobloc chair and white board
  • Sound system including megaphone for outdoor activities
  • Guided lunch buffet
  • Low ropes course
  • Team building and trust initiative games
  • Challenge game marshals
Package B: The Overnight Package
Price: Php950/head
*Add Php450 3x full board meals for at least 50 persons
  • Entrance Fee
  • Accommodation cabin rooms and kubo (non-aircon)
  • Swimming pool (use 2x)
  • Function hall with monobloc chair and white board
  • Sound system including megaphone for outdoor activities
  • Guided buffet meals of Lunch, Dinner, and Breakfast
  • Low ropes course
  • Team building and trust initiative games
  • Challenge game marshals
Package C: The 2-Nights 3-Days Package
Price: Php1,900/head
*Add Php900 6x full board meals for at least 50 persons
  • Entrance Fee
  • Accommodation cabin rooms and kubo (non-aircon)
  • Swimming pool (use 3x)
  • Function hall with monobloc chair and white board
  • Sound system including megaphone for outdoor activities
  • Guided buffet meals of two days Lunch, Dinner, and Breakfast
  • Low ropes course
  • Team building and trust initiative games
  • Challenge game marshals
OPTIONAL ADVENTURE:
⦁ Zipline Adventure: Php200.00
⦁ Mudslide Challenge: Php100.00 

 

HOW TO GET THERE:

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👣The Official Traveler