Hoi An and Caramel Macchiato

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I was at Makati two weeks ago for an appointment, it was a Thursday, February 27.  I don’t even remember the last time or the most recent one I had Starbucks, and because I didn’t want to go home yet and be stuck in heavy traffic jam as it was already rush hour, I decided to spend some time at Starbucks People Support Bldg. in Ayala.  I didn’t go to work just to attend this said appointment. That’s when I discovered this new beverage of Starbucks, there’s actually two: Caramel Macchiato and Hazelnut Macchiato. I decided to go with a cold Caramel Macchiato. I don’t usually order cold coffee but it just so happened that I was so thirsty.

I always enjoy reading magazines everytime I’m at any Starbucks, and that’s not so often. I always prefer to read the travel magazines, because I don’t have the luxury to buy them or even subscribe on a monthly basis. And when I do, I always get like two or three magazines to read, and the next thing I know, one or two hours have passed already. I forgot to bring along “The Deep Blue Sea” that day, I probably would have finished the book already if I brought it with me.

It was a beautiful day. Coffee and travel magazines.  It just simply never fails to make a day great.
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And the day was made even better, I was reading the October-November issue of Travelife magazine and saw this article titled “Dreams of Hoi An” by the editor herself. I don’t really read everything on the magazine, I just choose the ones that interest me; and this particular one really did. I immediately saw the quoted sentence beside a picture, “Make a wish, light the candle and let the lantern float down the river, “said a wizened old lady wearing a traditional comical hat. “Then it will certainly come true.” And I was just simply wowed with this simple yet powerful message from the lady from Hoi An.  She held up a pink a paper lantern to my face, and looked at me with a hopeful toothless smile. 

I find the picture of the lady really beautiful. It somehow speaks to me in ways I cannot fully explain. The way the lanterns she’s holding are glowing, her background with a boat and how she looks at the camera; everything just feels and looks like a bright sense of hope and peace to me. It’s just majestic. It striked me with the notion that the lady is someone of great wisdom, tranquility, hope, great experience, hard work, patience, simplicity, passion, dedication, love, and wonderful appreciation of the beauty of life. I feel like I wanna meet her.

I was definitely enamored with the place already, thanks to the lady in the picture. I just want to see this place, a place I have no idea whatsoever before reading this article. I feel like I want to see it much more than I want to see Hanoi. Definitely now one of my “must-see” list.

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And in the article it said, Hoi An is one of the loveliest towns in Vietnam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My God, a UNESCO Heritage Site, I really have to see this beautiful place.

It used to be a trading port, and according to Wiki, it is an example of a well-preserved South-East Asian trading port from the 15th – 19th century. It’s a very unique heritage site clearly displaying a rich combination of both foreign and native influences in almost every corner. The article also mentioned just some of the must-see places in Hoi An, including the famed Japanese covered bridge, Museum of Say Huynh Culture, Hoi An Handicraft Workshop, sail on a swan boat and Quan Cong Temple.

And yes, one of the highlights of the article too was when the writer went to this shop and saw this painting. It was a painting of a Vietnamese lady on her back, seemingly in deep thought. There wasn’t a picture of the painting included in the article, but somehow I can imagine it in my head. The painter even offered the writer of this article a discounted price, this beautiful piece that he worked hard for in three days.

Going it alone: 7 tips for successful solo travel

Going it alone: 7 tips for successful solo travel by By Nikki Bayley, for CNN

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

“People who depend on other people are often in hiding from themselves.”

“Traveling alone brings you face to face with yourself — with your failings and your strengths.”

“The more stories you don’t blog about on the road, the fresher they’ll be when you get back home.”

“The thought of dining alone terrifies some people.The fear even has a name: solomangarephobia.”

Wow, I didn’t know there is a term for the fear of dining alone.

I’ve always love traveling alone since I started it on my very first travel overseas. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself and one of the things I’ve accomplished that I’m most proud of.

Travel Fund: All about planning and budgeting

“Stick to your souvenir and pasalubong budget. Just walk away (Ouch at just walk away) no matter how cute the item is if you’re beyond your budget.”

But very true, proven enough. I haven’t overspent in any of my trips though when it comes to souvenirs, as for me they’re not souvenirs but merchandise.

First time hearing about Dreamtrips but them giving a refund of 150% if you find a better deal than what they offer sounds really inviting. And with couchsurfing.org, this is a really good catch too but for group travelers, though this won’t be that useful to me as I often go to trips alone.

Then again, it’s all about planning and budgeting unless you’ve got a lot to spare that budgeting and planning are out of your concerns (Mapera).

http://anc.yahoo.com/video/money-maximizing-travel-fund-124326365.html

More photos – Shinhwa flower stands at the concert and others

That cartoon image is Dydy from the March Seoul concert

Flower stands for Shinhwa Wings: Dongwan and Hyesung

Another Sungie flower stand

Shinhwa and Dydy flower stands

Flower stand from Hyesungie’s HK Fanclub

Flower stand for the one and only Crab Little Prince from HK-HS. I have a fanmade fan with the same photo on this from Roygen fansign last April 20.

I look bad here but at least I’m next to Crabbie. Hehe

Selca time with ate Flor and Monica

With ate Grace

The Shinhwa staff guy that everyone’s been crushing over

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Wild Shinhwa banner. Me and Monica also took a photo with this but she still has to spare time to upload it.

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Ate Flor and ate Grace with SHS and Andy fanboards

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From L-R: Cam, the Shinhwa staff, ate Flor, ate Grace, Marthana. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the two girls.

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Ate Flor and Nads

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Me and the SHS fanboard and Hyesung HK fan. I’m actually more proud of the fan than to show my face LOL

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Monica with Eric fanboard

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Monica and me with our biases fanboards

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Ate Flor and Monica

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All the fan stuff that I got from the concert including gifts from ate Flor.

The epic fanboards handmade by ate Flor. I’m specially proud of these JJ and Eric fanboards as they were captured while I was holding them up by photographers from Asia World Club. I got the HS plastic fanboard from ate Lai, it’s so cute as it’s back to back. The other side shows Hyesung in his Angel gun dance.

This is the shot I’m referring to. Though our faces ( ate Flor and me) are not seen here but we’re just too happy that the fanboards got captured. :)) Weeeee!!! We are proud Changjos!!! (Photo from Asia World Club)

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part I-A)

At the Clark International Airport

Nice to see you again HK

If my previous Shinhwa fangirling travel post was titled ‘On a Saturday Shinhwa Made Extraordinary,’ this time I made some changes. Instead of made extraordinary, now I made it super special which means something special has become a lot more special because of them.

It took me just today to finally be able to write about Shinhwa Grand Tour The Classic in HongKong. I couldn’t find time to sit down and do it when I arrived as I got busy with laundry and stuff. Add to that was because I was tired, I wanted sleep but didn’t manage to sleep after arriving. When I went to work, Thursday 13th June I was busy with deadline. Now that production is over for the month, there’s nothing else to do so this is the best time to do it.

Arrived at HongKong International Airport. Nice to see you again HK!

Before the HK stop was made official, I thought I’d be going Singapore again. If they went Singapore and not HK, it would have been my third time there. It was nice to go back to HK this time, as the first time I visited was during my first solo overseas trip on Dec. 2009. Well this time, I flew by myself again but I had some friends when I got there and during the concert, so things were quite different this time unlike last time that I was totally by myself.

What made this Shinhwa HK stop more fun than my first HK with SS501 concert and my first Shinhwa concert in Singapore was meeting new friends there, from Indonesia, Cebu and finally meeting ate Flor and ate Grace. I guess one big reason why I’m a lot happier this time was because I didn’t have to stay at my brother’s place in Singapore and have another argument with him that would tinge my good mood for that day. I didn’t have to think that I might disturb or worry other people for getting home so late because he’s not around to make a fuss about it.

The Classic in HK was the best way to celebrate Shinhwa’s 15th anniversary and my 1st anniversary as a Shinhwa Changjo ( Shinhwa’s official fanclub name). I actually considered going to Taipei but then the visa requirement is additional hassle. Plus it has a fee, though I would have more time to earn more pocket money. However, considering the recent issue between the Philippines and Taipei, I thought it wasn’t a good time to go there. But now, it seems the issue has totally went down and it’s okay to go. One problem, I don’t have time to source funds that fast when there’s only less than a month left when I arrived from the HK concert. It wasn’t quite possible to make it to Taipei.

I had to lie about the real reason of going to HK because knowing my mother, she would definitely comment and I didn’t want to hear it. No one and nothing was able to stop me. I’m going and when I say I’m going, I’m definitely going. I worked hard for it and I deserved it. I prayed hard for it and God gave it to me again so I’m very thankful.

And so I left Manila on an early Friday morning and took a bus at Trinoma Clark Airport Lounge. I only had 2 hours of sleep and got up to be on time for the 3:00am bus to Clark Airport. I was pretty early. I arrived at Clark at 4:30am and immediately went inside to immigration and paid the stupid taxes and fees. I had breakfast there had coffee and ate a sandwich that I brought. I think I waited for an hour before boarding time. There was so much time and I was so bored as I didn’t have my laptop with me. The airport is quite small but there weren’t a lot of people so everything was quite faster.

It was boarding time 15mins before 7:05am. I got in the plane but as usual can’t sleep. I don’t really get to sleep on a flight. I was seated next to a mother and daughter. The adult daughter gave me a Jollibee sandwich and she asked me if I work there. I told her no, I was just going to watch something. Then she said, she thought I’m a student. Haha! I’m always mistaken as a student. And so I arrived HK at 9:00am and called ate Flor but she wasn’t answering but ate Grace answered. I took the bus to Mongkok to drop my bag and take a shower at the hostel. However, it wasn’t easy finding the hostel. It took me probably an hour going back and forth Argyle St. but couldn’t see it. I was so tired and sweaty, my shoulders are in pain. Finally saw it when I asked a man in front of 7-eleven and pointed the building in front of me. It was freaking right there!!! But because the sign was so small, it was so hard to find. I took a shower and had change of clothes and that’s when I realized I forgot so many. I forgot slippers, towel, an extra pants and soap.

Eusha Eusha Cafe & Diner Shinhwa posters

I couldn’t resist the urge to take photos of the framed Shinhwa posters displayed all over the shop. Well I actually wanted to take photos of me with the posters but it will take much of my time so I just took photos of them individually.

Here are the awesome posters. Would have been nice if they could give away one. Hehe!

Shinhwa MBC Greatest Artist Collection and 2001 First Live Concert

Hyesungie’s Beginning, New Days album, Jinnie’s Love Doesn’t Come and Andy’s Propose

I went OMG when I saw this poster. It’s the most coveted Shinhwa Wild poster.

Shinhwa palms

Only One – 3rd jib

Shinhwa Vol. 9 on the right and Inspiration #1 Japanese album

Inspiration #1 and 10th Anniversary poster

State of the Art and Winter Story 2007

Music Video Collection and CF poster with Moon Geun-young

10th Anniv jib poster. The only time Hyesung is with a mustache. He looks good though.

State of the Art in Seoul poster

This is from the Turkey photobook. Forgot the title though

Brand New Vol. 7

I don’t like Minwoo’s hairstyle here. It’s too mature for him. Hyesung and Jinnie with quite long hair. Hyesungie is so pretty though.

Kim Dongwan is… album

I don’t where this poster is from. Probably Explore M.

I think Eric’s is from a CF. I wanted to move the box but they might scold me for doing so

Minwoo’s Girlfriend album poster. I love this it’s so big and beautiful

I love this too. Dongwan is so gorgeous. Love to put this on my front door.

Music Video Collection poster but this pic is also from State of the Art

Shinhwa Japan Tour 2005

I love this. I have the photobook of this from Vol. 9 10th Anniv album

2006 Asia Tour in Seoul

Dongwan and Eric. This was under the table so couldn’t capture it better

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part I-B)

Eusha Eusha Café & Diner

Eusha Eusha Cafe & Diner sign at Central. I really like the sign.

I was supposed to meet ate Grace but it was hard when the only way I could contact her was through payphone. She didn’t know what I was wearing and I didn’t know hers either. I couldn’t reach her from the first two payphone calls I made so I just ate lunch at a nearby Burger King because I was so hungry. So when she finally answered on my third call, we agreed to meet at Central Exit B but I heard wrongly and went to Exit D. Luckily she was there when I got to Central Exit D.

They were already at Eusha Eusha. Because I’m really thirsty, I ordered a ‘I Pray 4U’ shake which I think was some kind of apple shake and busied myself taking pictures of the framed posters displayed everywhere at the shop while everyone was chatting. Before we left, we took a group photo mimicking the oppas flower pose with the posters behind us. While busy taking photos, I noticed my pants got stained and because I didn’t have extra pants with me I had to buy. Luckily, there was a nearby tiyangge at Eusha so I bought two and slippers.

Eusha Eusha’s menu with names from Shinwha song. Adorable right?!