Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Hotel Trusty Sakae

Hotel Trusty Nagoya Sakae,
Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Date Stayed: Nov 13-17, 2015

Price: Discounted - Thanks to, I got another Insider Deal of almost 60% discount, plus reduction on price by using Rewards Points.  Comparing to, I got a cheaper deal in for less than 25%.

It is still better to prepare hotel booking by comparing prices on the official site and other 3rd party booking sites as an early bird, to have more choices. 

Check-in: It is a late check-in, so less people are on the lobby. I was accommodated quickly, the staff can speak clear English.  There is no deposit needed.  Choice of breakfast is already being asked (night before) since it is not buffet type.

Room: (Single Deluxe, 15sqm) Room size in Japan is normally small, it's my fourth visit in Japan - so I already expected that it has good facilities and service - with coffee/tea maker, slippers and toiletries.  Nice to know that they even offer LAN cable, that’s so helpful on my online meeting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 June: Australia: Blue Mountains: Jenolan Caves

It's a decision between to do or not to do it because of the price and the schedule.  A week before our flight we have decided to do it since there is nothing much to do in the city.

An addition to my cave adventure (after Sumaguing in Sagada, Callao in Cagayan, Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) in Halong Bay, Manjanggul Cave (lava tunnel) in Jeju) glad we made it!

Realizations for our decisions:

  • The Trolley Tours works with Jenolan Office to reserve the tickets and guided tour for the cave.  We got a 2.00 aud discount booked from Metropole Hotel and they were able to reserved us in both Trolley return ride and Cave tour.
  • The Chifley Cave is a good choice and gives you enough time (to do the cave, quick lunch, self-guided tour in Nettle Cave, visit at blue lake, quick visit in souvenir shop and a 30 minute rest before the bus leaves at 3:30pm). Personal choice of good cave is the Diamond Cave but can be visited if you stay there overnight in Jenolan Hotel or if you have private car to be there by 9:00am.
  • If you don't mind being the reason for the delay of the bus departure in the afternoon, you may take both Chifley and Lucas. There is also Oriental Cave (check the schedule).  Be mindful of the negative reviews about of Trolley Tours (read more in Trip Advisor).

We left Trolley Shoppe/bus from Carlton Stop at 10:30am.  It is a long almost 1-1.5 hours bus ride heading to the caves. 

Going there stay on the left side of the bus to experience the cliff adventure.

Chifley Cave guided tour started at exactly 12:30nn.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Scenic World

In Central Station, head to platform 7. Take note that 1st and last coach is a quiet coach, meaning you should minimize the tone of your voice, phone on mute and be mindful of your movement/noise. Better stay in the middle coach. It will be around 2 hours, so don't miss Katoomba stop, otherwise you'll reach Mount Victoria.

Scenic World
From the internet not much says about the quickest access to Scenic World - mostly website suggests to take the Blue Mountains HOHO and the Troley Tours.  Please be aware that there is Bus #686 run by the government which accepts Opal Card.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Metropole

Why stay in Katoomba?  Because we can't have Scenic World and Jenolan Caves at the same day.

Metropole Katoomba
Location: Corner Gang Gang and Lurlline Streets, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Blue Mountains, Australia
Just across Katoomba Station!

You can see Katoomba Station from the fire place/3rd Floor

Saturday, July 4, 2015

2015 June: Sydney: Bondi Beach

Australia, famous for it's best beaches!  But since it is too cold for us to be playing on the water, the closest and easiest to visit for a short time will be Bondi Beach.  

With shops that offer affordable ROX items to be most loved graffiti walls expressing emotions and warm relationship among others.  One that touched my heart is the wall that remembers the Bali bombing which hurt Sydney tourists at that time. (since we saw the site in Bali as well)

2015 June: Sydney: Ultimo, Haymarket, Town Hall

After my visit, I can say it is not for all.  It will be mostly appreciated by those who love applied science or students coming from intensive science subjects in their lower years. 

Powerhouse Museum
Location: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia

Located in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture.

Seems to small from the outside but has a lot to offer on their underground levels which stores the permanent exhibition. 

On Text: Railways were a powerful symbol of industrial progress, transformed the landscape and the way people viewed the world.

2015 June: Sydney: Central

You can reach Central area by taking buses (412, 413, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483) passing along Broadway and Parramatta Road.  First stop is the university area.

The University of Sydney
Location: New South Wales 2006, Australia

There were few students on our visit on a Sunday morning. Also, can't get a full photo of the Great Hall since there are a few maintenance vans parked in front of the building.  But still it was a nice spent morning for people watching on a sunny chilly weather.

Great Hall

Nicholson Museum

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Australia: Sydney: Itinerary & Tips

How's the weather?
Are you wondering what will the weather be on your travel? How's the range of temperature, will it rain? Are you gearing up for the hot or cold weather?

Visit the historical temperature and precipitation record on:

Confused on what card to use during your stay in Sydney?

It's a fight between MyMultiPass and Opal card.

MyMultiPass-1-2-3-Day has different area coverage on unlimited travel on bus, train, railway and ferry. Read:

For a 7 day stay, it is recommended to get MyMulti3 for $65 aud.

But, what I did is to purchase Opal Card, I'm not using the ferry anyway. I had a total top-up of $40 aud for a week stay.  Know the benefits of Opal:

-Travel all day on Sunday with Opal for no more than $2.50.
-Enjoy travel all day for no more than $15 per day for Adult
-Take 8 paid journeys from Monday-Sunday with an Opal card and enjoy free travel for the rest of the week
-A 30% off-peak discount on full price Opal fares applies to all train journeys

Read more on:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Australia: Sydney: The Rocks

Inspired by Running Man's episode when they visited Victoria Library in Melbourne.  We have decided to visit State Library of NSW.

State Library of New South Wales
Location: Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Free Tour Schedule: Monday to Fridays at 10.30am

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 June: Sydney: Churches

There are a lot of churches in the city. It's not only the catholic churches that have intricate designs, there were Anglican and others as well.  On the Pitts, you can also see the Scientology Church (Read). 

We're able to attend the Sunday mass in St. Peter Julian's Church.

St. Peter Julian Haymarket
Location: 641 George Street, Sydney   NSW
Sunday  Mass  Times:  9.30  am,  11.00  am  (Chinese),12.30  pm,  3.30  pm  &  5.00pm  (Korean)

Gospel MK 14:12-16, 22-26 - June 07, 2015
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."

Reflection on the Gospel:
That we can't be alone (no man is an island) and we need companion.
Companion - you need to have a companion to share your bread (pan) with.

Origin: Middle English: from Old French compaignon, literally 'one who breaks bread with another', based on Latin com- 'together with' + panis 'bread'. [Reference

2015 June: Sydney: I'm Free Tours

I’m Free Tours was started by Ross & Justine, two Sydneysiders, upon their return from travels around Europe. This small group is also made up of young Sydneysiders and Melbournians.

Read more reviews in:

Thanks to Danica our guide in Sydney Sights that we took at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon of June. 

It started at meeting point in Town Hall Square, on George St between Sydney Town Hall and St Andrew’s Cathedral. She welcomed the participants by asking the home countries we've been from and had small chats with the groups.  Good thing about this is even there are a lot of joiners, you can still hear her loud and clear.

2015 June: Vivid Sydney - Lights

Vivid Sydney is festival of light, music and ideas held in Sydney, Australia during end of May to early June.

Vivid Light transforms Sydney into a wonderland of 'light art' sculptures, innovative light installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy - for free. It is a magical celebration of light-design excellence and the world's largest outdoor 'art-gallery': a unique Vivid Sydney experience. [Read more on]

Photos below were taken during the last weekend of the event on June 2015.

Martin Place

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015 June: Flavors of Sydney


The Grounds of Alexandria
Food: Seasonal greens 7.00aud (with olive oil and sea salt), David Blackmore full-blooded wagyu cheeseburger 21.00aud (with shed-made dill pickles, mustard seed onions, tomato chili jam & lettuce, all on a pretzel bun with fries), Citrus Fizz (zesty orange and lemon soda), Elderflower and Cucumber soda
Value: 42aud (1450 php)
Location: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Personal Preference: 9 out of 10, I loved the experience.

I've not seen this suggested in most of the blog or websites, but thanks again to Patty for sharing the experience. I've been looking for a themed restaurant and this one gave me a terrific feel of an upscale market place.

Looks like most of the locals, families and friends are willing to wait in a long line, so better contact them in email beforehand.  There are two formal places to try, The  Café  Roastery  (starts at 7:00am, kitchen  closes  at  3pm) and The  Potting  Shed (starts nearly 11:00am, closes at 10:00pm).  Food was served in less than 15 minutes, waiting will never be a question since you would enjoy anything that you see.
-The menu are clipped on board with mini-shovel.  
-The table is reserved with a small herb plant.
-The Potting Shed is within an indoor garden, with multitude hanging plants all over the place
-The best thing, our cheeseburger was served in bigger old shovel as a tray, which makes it very interesting.  The taste is much thick, of course its wagyu, thus its tasty.

2015 June: Sydney: Pensione Hotel Haymarket

Affordable accommodation upon my research in Sydney are mostly found in Kings Cross. Good prices from airbnb are in Darlinghurst. But, accessible location would be in main thorough fare of George Street which is near the Light Railways in Haymarket, Townhall station and Wynyard station.

Pensione Hotel Sydney, Haymarket
Location: 631635 George Street, Haymarket, NSW, 2000 Australia

Price: DiscountedUpon comparing the official website, agoda and expedia, the lowest price for 1 shoebox room for 7 nights  (P25,567.53) is in expedia (with 10k php hot deal discount).

Check-in: Quick and easyCheck-in time starts at 3pm.  But if they found the room available they can let you in upon arrival. They would also need 100.00 aud as a deposit, just surrender the receipt upon check-out.

For early travelers, they have guest lounge where you can take a rest and freshen-up before you start the day.

When we get back by 6pm, our luggage were already delivered to the room. 

Room (Shoebox, Double bed, 13sqm) - You get what you pay for. We can barely open our luggage for the small size.  I normally don't unpack at all, but I did this time since they have cabinet and drawers to use.

Bed linings are clean and soft, towels are being changed everyday.

2015 June: Australia: Visa Application

Most of the advise online is still to get a visa first before buying a ticket.  But what can I do if the fares are on sale?!

I bought my 5J ticket on 28-Oct-2014 during the Peek-a-BOOK Piso Sale for 7,060 php base fare RT. Now, how will I get the visa?