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Showing posts from February, 2015

Getting Sorted in Hogwarts

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I was as giddy as a schoolgirl that got a smile from her crush as I walked the winding path that will take me to the make-believe village of Hogsmeade, and the Hogwarts  School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  
Ever since the books came out I've always been a fan of J.K Rowling's books. I've read all the seven books several times already, and listened to all the audiobooks and watched all of the movies as well. I included Osaka to my itinerary during my Japan trip just so I can drop by Universal Studios Japan and visit the fantastical place of witches and wizards called the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

After taking a morning train from Kyoto (I traded visiting the old castles of Kyoto just so I can visit the make-believe one) and navigating the metro of Osaka I ended up in the theme park just before noon. I got my ticket and got in, and lined up one more time to get a number that will grant me entrance to the castle.



As the appointed hour neared I fell in line with score…

Trip report: Roxas City on a Weekend

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I flew to Roxas City last January for a weekend. Roxas is the capital of Capiz, a province located in the island of Panay, Philippines. It was right after a software upgrade project at work, so I intended the trip to be as stress-free as possible. My plans of going to an island called Olotayan and do a river cruise went out the window just as soon as I landed due to the inclement weather at that time. I decided instead to just explore the city, and compensate by eating lots and lots of seafood.

I checked in at San Antonio Resort, which is located about a few kilometers from downtown, and just across the road to a beach called Baybay. The resort looked good; there are several cottages for the guests, a pool with a bar, and other amenities. They were kind enough to fetch me from the airport. My flight was early in the morning, so I took a short nap first after checking in. I then went to the beach area to look for breakfast.

Roxas City is dubbed the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, …

My Naked Onsen Experience

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Who goes first? This seemed to be one everyone's mind inside the locker room.  I just finished my snowboarding session in Hakuba and as an après-ski I decided to go to an onsen to relax. The owner of the hostel drove me to the onsen amid sub-zero temps, together with a group of Jewish Australians who just checked in the hostel. I made small talk with them while in the car, and they became my sort of instant buddies just as we entered the facility.
Going to an onsen - hot spring (and the facilities around it ) in Japanese - is a revered tradition in Japan. The onsen is an important way of relaxing and getting away from a busy life. It is also a way of getting to know the people in the community in a unique way that being naked around them would allow. It breaks down barriers; they call it hadaka no tsukiai, naked communion. For me, it was a chance to experience one aspect of the culture, and also to rest and soothe my tired muscles, which got banged up many times in the ski slopes

Things to Do in Bohol

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Bohol, an island in central Philippines, is becoming one of the more popular destinations for travelers in the country. The island is not that large but it has a lot of things to offer. Here's a rundown of the things to do and experience in Bohol:

Getting up close with the Philippine tarsier
Tarsiers are weird creatures. They look cute and cuddly enough, but their big round eyes can be jarring to stare back at. They can also turn their heads 180 degrees, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Good thing that these creatures are asleep mostly during the day. Still, these primates, the second smallest in the world and endemic to Bohol, are one of the reasons to come to the island. The tarsiers can be seen in a sanctuary, in the town of Corella. Because they are prone to stress and susceptible to just drop dead if disturbed, visitors at the sanctuary can only watch them from a distance, and flash photography is not allowed in the premises.

See dolphins feeding 
Another cute animal that you ca…

Things to Consider When Booking Airport Parking

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Things to Consider When Booking Airport Parking
Leaving your prized possession in an unfamiliar environment can be quite unnerving especially if you are away for an extended amount of time. And worrying about your vehicle while away can lead to a stressful flight and vacation when you should be relaxing and making the most of your downtime. 
You shouldn’t need to worry if you have done your research thoroughly, and chosen the right parking services that suit your specific needs. 
One thing to note, is that there are fundamentals that you should look out for when booking your parking, so here are some of them, to help keep your mind at rest when checking your vehicle into a car parking facility. 
1. Make sure the parking services are secure With a reported 700,000 motor vehicles being stolen in American per year, according to a report by RMIIA, making sure your car is parked in a secure facility should be of paramount importance. Check the parking operators website to see if the area…

How To Track Your Travels with Google Location History

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Ever traveled to a place then forgot the name of that small shop that sells the best tasting cronuts you've ever had? Or have you ever wanted to retrace your steps in your travels, down to the smallest alleyways you passed along the way but couldn't? Here's a travel tool that enables you to do that - so well that it's cool and scary at the same time: the Google Location History.

I use the service - which you need to enable on your mobile phone and Google account - to look back at my travels and generate some cool maps that retrace my steps during my trips. Google Maps, by itself, is an incredibly useful app already; I cannot count how many times I've used it when traveling to find my hostel, the nearest subway station, that cronut place. Having location history enable, made it cooler and more useful.
Take a look at these examples:
The top photo shows my movements around Singapore during my trip there in September, It basically showed my movements in the city state…