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

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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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Travel Nueva Ecija: Crystal Waves

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I will leave my dear friends pretty soon due to my study abroad so while I still have the time to spare, I wanted to spend some with them. Thanks to the Crystal Waves coupon I won in one raffle promo during the Lakbay Palay DS2017. I got 3 passes to Crystal Waves for free!! 🙂 So, let me share bits of information just in case some of you are interested to visit this resort for family, friends-get together, or teambuilding activities.

Crystal Waves Hotel and Resort is located at Dinarayat, Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

CONTACT DETAILS (as of June 2017)
(044) 803- 5090; 0932-867- 5855

DAYTOUR ADMISSION FEE:
Swimming Pool Hours – 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Adult Php230.00
Child Php180.00
Senior Citizen Php184.00
AMENITIES:
⦁ Wave Pool with Jacuzzi (this is according to schedule e.g. every hour)
⦁ Giant Water Racing Slide (50 feet high tower with almost 200 feet slide)
⦁ Mickey Mouse inspired Olympic Size Swimming Pool
⦁ Kiddie Pool with Aqua Play Area
COTTAGES:
⦁ Dahlia (10-15pax) Php600.00
⦁ Waling-waling (10-15pax) Php650.00
⦁ Aster Cottage (15-20pax) Php700.00
⦁ Gumamela (20-15pax) Php800.00
ADVENTURE CAMP:
⦁ Zipline Superman Adventure Php200.00
⦁ Zipline Professor X Adventure Php150.00
⦁ Wall climbing Spiderman Adventure Php200.00
⦁ Rappelling Batman Adventure Php200.00
ROOMS:
BONIFACIO ROOM (good for 2pax) Php1,500.00
RIZAL ROOM (good for 2pax) Php3,000.00
AGUINALDO ROOM (good for 4pax) Php3,800.00
KATIPUNAN DORMITORY (good for 20pax) Php12,000.00
*Room rate includes complimentary breakfast
*Check-in time – 2:00PM
*Check-out time – 12:00 NN
*Additional Php700 per head for extra adults
*Prices are subject to change without prior notice
OTHERS:
Videoke for Rent: Php700.00
Grill: Php75.00
Rules and Regulations:
⦁ Proper Swimming Attire is required.
⦁ Male: Swimming trunks; Female: Swimwear or Swimsuit
⦁ Colored shorts, maong shorts with zipper and other metal accessories are strictly prohibited
⦁ Food and drinks are not allowed near the pool area
⦁ Bottled drinks & hard drinks are strictly prohibited
⦁ Please refrain from bringing any of the following:
*Fragile utensils (plates, water glasses, condimental bottles)
*Deadly weapons (Knives, ice picks, etc.) prohibited.
How To Get There:
From Manila, ride a bus going to San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Drop off  at Dinarayat, Talavera, Nueva Ecija (along the national highway). 
 
👣The Official Traveler

Tuessies: The Power To Change

‘Tuessies’ is a group of young professionals who share and study the Word every Tuesday after their regular work. I joined this group in 2013 for the purpose of spiritual edification and friendship. As a new employee of the institution, I was seeking for sense of belongingness and I am blessed knowing that God has already prepared everything for me even before I came to this place. As series of fellowships have gone through, people come and people go.. but one thing is constant.. I am awed by how God works uniquely in everyone’s life in the group.

Ms. Irene also known as ‘Ate I’ is the best example of a cheerful giver. Knowing that we all have similar basic needs, she is well-known to be extra thoughtful. Without any second thoughts, she sacrifices her own wants for the needs of significant majority. I pray that the Lord will bless her mightily and abundantly as she presses on the upward call for her heart is full of love.

Nehem is an example of a young man with a big heart for out-of-school youth in his hometown. There are  many little children who has been abandoned by their parents because of poverty. He pours his love by dedicating his time as a Sunday school teacher/helper to his church for God’s glory. What a joy to serve the Almighty. God knows his heart’s desires for the young people to have good shelter and good education and He will reap what he has sown whatever those are.

Xarin is a pastor’s kid who is making a mark in her early 20s. Her strong spiritual foundation led her to be a cell group leader to certain group of college students at a state university. Many young people nowadays are prone to go astray without proper guidance or no group with good influence to belong with. Her passion to lead young people to Christ has been remarkable journey of her life. With many other cell group leaders, they continue to pass on the light to more generations to come. Every week she schedules to meet her Cell Group (CG) to share and care.

The names are just a few to represent everyone in the Tuessies but the message is, more than the tedious work in the workplace, one can still devote time for a purpose-driven life because God uses ordinary people to do the extraordinary. Tuessies influence. Tuessies shine light. You, too can.


Paseo Habida Resort is located in Sto. Rosario, Sto. Domingo Nueva Ecija. It was the venue for the year-end Christmas activity of the group.

Entrance Fee: Adult -Php 80.00 (USD $1.90)
Child -Php 60.00 (USD $1.80)

👣 The Official Traveler

Traveling Has Made Me Learn A New Hobby!

I love traveling but I’ve never thought I would be learning a new hobby because of this–guess what? It’s travel photography. I used to ‘just’ capture photos for memories but my recent travel to South Korea made me realize that there are rare but beautiful things all around us waiting to be captured and appreciated for a lifetime. So while the other tourists were still sleeping, I got up early and headed to Namsan Park to catch the sunrise and capture my first shots.

As I returned home from the trip, I smiled of the thought that I am a newbie travel photographer who wants to keep her portfolio alive. I walk, I look. I stop, I photograph!

I walk, I look. I stop. I photograph 📷
 
The Official Traveler

I’m not really sure if I did the capturing right but I’d love to hear and learn from professional photographers  or other photography learners for tips as I harness this new skill. Help me.. Yeyyy learning 🙂

1. N Seoul Tower

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If you feel like a character in “My Love from the Stars” or you want to trace the footsteps of K-pop queen Boa, and the Korean heartthrobs “Boys over Flowers,” then hop on a cable car, after a short walk from MyeongDong.

Along with the spectacular view, you can make a love pact at the “Locks of Love” area, a spot that has witnessed numerous proposals and pledges of love—real and the reel. You can also drop by the Teddy Bear museum shop for cute souvenirs, get high at the tower’s observatories, or try the unusual Sky restrooms! We’re not wondering why Namsan tower is a favorite shoot location of Korean shows: it is picturesque, romantic, and worth every penny.

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2. Gyeongbokgung

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If you want to see historical palaces and feel like you were part of the Joseon dynasty, head to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of Korea’s Five Grand Palaces. Gyeongbokgung Palace housed Korea’s early rulers, and every part seems to tell a story. You can also witness a re-enactment of the traditional change of guard ceremony and have your photos taken with palace guards, as long as you treat them with courtesy.

3. Nami Island

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Even if is almost two hours by train from Seoul, Nami island is worth the long commute. For your ultimate Korean-drama experience, Nami island offers a lot of picture-worthy spots, including the Metasequoia footpath, an aisle with perfectly-lined trees where stars of “Winter Sonata” professed love for each other. img_0204_

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At Nami island, you can also ride a couple bike for hours or go on a simple picnic while enjoying the cool air. See squirrels freely interact with visitors—interacting with nature at its finest.

Camera Used: Nikon COOLPIX S7000, IPhone 4

This post is inspired by the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Rare.

BaguioPH: Spelunking at Aran Cave

From the mountains, to the land, and to the body of water, Benguet has a lot to offer. Wanna try something different this summer? If you are perfectly physically fit, how about spelunking, rappelling, and diving? Aran Cave is a perfect spot for spelunking and is only 40 minutes away from Baguio. Located in Camp 3 (Tukang) Tuba, Benguet, it is indeed a great summer experience.

As early as 7AM, we headed to Baguio City to take out food from Good Taste –the Igorot Brand. ^_^ My group reached Camp 3 at 9AM. We waited for other members of the group to arrive for a couple of hours. After the orientation, we headed to the cave by 11AM. Praise God, we came out ALIVE at 3PM. 🙂


WHAT TO BRING

1.Cash

2. Extra clothes, footwear (preferably crocs or something similar)
You will get wet. Rocks are sharp. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing.

3. Footwear. Crocs-type of footwear can be rented on site (sizes vary).

4. Food. After the 3 or 4-hour activity, you will surely be craving for food 🙂

5. Water/water bottle. There is water safe for drinking inside the cave.

5. Camera (bring your camera inside the cave AT YOUR OWN RISK).


HOW TO GET THERE

Option 1:
Ride a jeepney (Camp 3) in front of Shopper’s Lane along Magsaysay Avenue. The terminal is just several meters away from Jollibee Magsaysay. Fare: P35 (1st trip: around 7-9AM)
Option 2:
Ride a bus that passes through Kennon Road. Just make sure to tell the conductor that you will be alighting in Camp 3/Twin Peaks near the entrance of the cave. Fare: P50-60
Option 3:
Take private vehicle going to Camp 3 (boundary of Camp 2 and Twin Peaks). There is a small green sign board ‘ARAN CAVE’ on the right (if you are coming from Baguio City).

QUICK TIPS

1. Go early. The cave can only accommodate a few groups at a time. This means that you and your group will have to wait for your turn.
2. Bring underwater gadget protector. This is if you plan on bringing gadgets like phones and cameras inside the cave. You will be passing through a lot of water and muddy rocks inside the cave.

3. Listen to your guide. Before you enter the cave, you will be oriented on what to expect inside the cave, what to do and not to do inside the cave, and other important matters. For your safety, pay attention to what the man in charge of the orientation has to say.

4. Bring your courage. Once you get inside, there’s no turning back. Have fun! 🙂


EXPENSES 

Entrance Fee: P125 per person (as of May 2016)
Tour Guide Fee: P120-150 per 5pax (inclusive of the entrance fee if in group)
Swimming Pool: P70 per person
Shower (without bath soap or anything 😦 ) : P35 per person
Cottage (Communal): P150 per group (:()

*The tourism in the area is still under development so do not expect a ‘Sumaging Cave’-type.
Aran Cave is beautiful on its own. Wait and see.

Happy Summer,

 👣 The Official Traveler

Spring 2016: Travel Seoul from Philippines

While it is super hot summer in some parts of Asia, it is also my most awaited beautiful season in South Korea–SPRING❀❀. I had a chance to have a 2-Day trip to Korea recently. It was a sudden and unplanned trip. Traveling solo, I brought with me my most valuable possession– COURAGE.

This trip left me one impression: Spring is indeed a beautiful season


I love the imperfections and spontaneity of this DIY travel.

Going to Manila Airport
I never wanted to travel in Manila alone (just!). But I had no choice but to face everything on my own this time (fighting!). From Region 3, I took a bus going to GMA Kamuning then went to MRT station. It is the surest way I know to get to Taft Avenue. From Taft Avenue Station, I didn’t know exactly where I would go next. For some reasons, I hardly give my trust to strangers especially #WhenInManila so I just followed the crowd as well as my instinct. I kinda’ got lost but I did not mind since I had the luxury of time before my departure. I guess this is the most exciting part of every adventure: going somewhere you do not exactly know how to get there.

Fortunately, I saw a security officer in uniform. This is the only time I peacefully ask the best way to reach the airport on time. Thank you Officer! 😊  Down the overpass beside Mc Donald’s,  I rode a jeepney bound for Nichols (instead of the Airport Shuttle Bus). I, too, did not know why I did that haha! I did not know where I was supposed to say, “para” and how much is  but it was a sure relief to see a lady wearing Cebu Pacific Airline uniform just in front of me 😀 When she got off, that’s my cue to get off as well. Unfortunately, her destination was different from mine 🙂 So I had to walk a few meters more to get to NAIA.
Lesson: Ask

At the Incheon Airport
I did not arrange with someone to fetch me at the airport. I had to make it to Seoul station on my own 🙂 We arrived late at night. Everyone is expected to go through the immigration process. Since Korea is popular place to visit for many reasons, passengers (mostly tourists) are swarming the hall. It took almost two hours for me to stand on the line and wait for my turn. My experience at the immigration area was my not-so-outstanding experience on the entire trip but at last, I’m done. I’m safe. Apart from it, everything was awesome.

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From the plane, you will use a train to go to the immigration hall

After the immigration, I just walked my way to the train station. It was not hard to find where it is. But to save time, there is an information desk nearby if need for help may arise.

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If you take the bus, check the map. In my case, I preferred the train because of higher guarantee that I stop at the exact location. There are two types of trains: a commuter train (no reservations necessary) and an express/non-stop train. It takes 1 hr and 20 mins to get to Seoul station using the commuter train (all-stop train) while only 45 minutes for the Express train.
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I took the commuter train (all-stop) train using a single journey ticket which can be purchased from the ticket machines near the entrance of the train station. The price for a single journey ticket from Incheon to Seoul Station is KRW 4150. Visit this useful link for up-to-date information.

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and another beautiful journey has began! 😊 Hello 안녕 Korea!~ It’s me again!
👣The Official Traveler