Kyiv, My Heart

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I love breakfasts by a view

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Independence Square, where the revolution that happened four years ago, started.

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Lion and Safari Park

South Africa was never part of my list. You know, that list that we all make and tick off before we’re too old to do anything? That list. But I got curious. I’d been hearing about how good the meat is there, and boy do I love myself some juicy, tasty meat. So I went.

Not only did I help myself with a 480 gram Prime Rib, and another 280 gram Ostrich Meat, I also got to see and touch animals native of South Africa.

Lion and Safari Park is only one of the many wild life sanctuaries in Johannesburg -Kruger National Park being the biggest of all of them, boasting a 2,000,000 (yes million) hectare lot. But I made it a point to visit Lion and Safari Park because I knew it would be a guarrantee for me to see the animals that were advertised.

In this particular park, they have divisions keeping one animal species from another, making it safe for the herbivores from being eaten by the carnivores. To be able to see the animals, guests ride a jeep and enters into each division. The driver stops right where the animals are and gives a few fun facts about the creature on sight. If that sounds touristy to you, I won’t argue because it is. But it’s not so bad. I think it’s actually worth the money because I’ve talked to other people who’d done Kruger Park and they said they drove the entire day to see only two or three kinds of animals. Although, going to a 2,000,000 hectare national park is also something that’s worthy to be on anyone’s bucket list.

My Expenses: 

  • Transpo from Hotel to Lion & Safari Park + Entrance to Park + 1 hour Tour + Lion Cub Encounter = 800 South African Rand
  • Cheetah Encounter = 70 Rand
  • Tips for Tour Guide and Driver = 40 Rand
  • Fridge Magent = 59 Rand

Total: 969 ZAR

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Photo Diary: Amsterdam

What’s in my Travel Backpack (for Siargao)

I’m going back to Siargao in a week!

Magpupungko Beach Siargao

More than 7,000 islands in this country, but I’ve only ever been to a handful. Siargao is in that measly count. It’s my second favoritestestest island, right after El Nido.

El Nido will always be my NO. 1, even though I haven’t seen her in 4 years. But that’s only because she’s too high maintenance. Siargao doesn’t demand. Well… her food’s fancy but that’s it. So I’m going behind El Nido’s back for a tête-à-tête with Siargao, for the second time in a row.

I’m ecstatic. In fact, my excitement has driven me to pack two weeks early! Which is why I’m writing this blog post. I wanted to share what I’ve prepared for Siargao.

Not that it’s important. I just really enjoy reading and watching “What’s in my Travel Backpack”/ “What’s in my Backpack” posts and youtube videos. This is my excuse to make one myself. 

My Bag of course!

My backpack is the 38 L Act Trail Pro from Deuter.

I know that 38 L is overkill for a 4 day trip – and to the beach too, where I won’t even need that many clothes at all! But this is the only backpack I have that can fit my stuff. I have a Jansport bag, but my 4 days wouldn’t fit in that either.

Summer clothes, which I’ve organized in these cute packing cubes!

Shoutout to the American boyfriend for getting me these. I’d been looking for inexpensive packing cubes in Cebu, for months, to no avail. The ones I found were always within the range of 500 PHP for one packing cube! So I asked Douglas if he could find me some in Tracy, and have them brought here by a family member who would visit.

Why does America have all the best things?

pink travel cubes cebu philippines what's in my bag

I’m not going to show everything, otherwise this post would take up your entire day. But this Something Borrowed top from Zalora  just has to be shared to the world.

Zalora

BIKINIS!

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I bought these from Rue 21 in Seattle. This pair was so bright compared to the rest of the bikinis in that store. It stood out. I just had to have it.

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These ones were given to me by my aunt in Japan. I’m not sure if my cellulite-covered-bum will agree with my wearing this, but I’m bringing them anyway. Wish me luck!

Roxy Rash Guard
Sorry for the overexposure. lol.
Are rash guards considered as bikinis? This cropped one from Roxy might as well be!

This Microfiber Towel

Because micofiber towels should be the only kind of towel in a traveller’s bag.

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I got this large size for only 600 PHP at Me and U in SM Seaside. I found this cheaper than the ones in other stores, where they sell the medium size for about the same price.

SUNNIES!

The black ones are Justcavalli, while the ones with the red leopard print details are knock offs.

This Sunscreen

Relax, I’m not going to show you the essentials. Just this one!

I think it’s important to point out that we should buy sunscreen that’s reef friendly – 100% natural, no harmful chemicals.

Think, not only of yourself, but of our sea friends.

The Equipment

I say that like I have the fanciest cameras. Not. lol.

Travel-Equipment

Just the Hero 4 Silver, the stick, and a gorillapod for my Canon EOS M10 (represented by its cap), which I’m still contemplating on bringing.

So that’s basically it! I’m nowhere near done packing, but I shall continue in the next days. Hope to have satisfied the interest of the nosey people, such as myself! If you’d like to share what your travel essentials are, feel free to comment below. I’d love to know too!

Willia and The Town of Cats

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a dog person. Never in my life did I tell myself or my parents, that I wanted a cat for a pet. Cats scare me. Just look at those soul piercing eyes or the killer claws that could tear through all the layers of my skin. So it was quite a surprise that I had the courage (and energy) to go to the little cat village in Houtong.

I set out to the town of cats on my second day in Taipei, right after my vist to Jiufen Old Street. I took the 1602 bus to the Riufang Train Station, which is the main station that connects all the nearest towns to the big city. Once I arrived, I sought out the Information Center that’s right next to the station entrance. The lady working was such a darling for being so eager help. I was to go by the station’s platform gates and tap my Easy Card, that had about 60 TWD left, before allowing myself in. I slowly found my way to Platform 4 where the train to Houtong had already been waiting for a few minutes. I hopped inside, praying that I wouldn’t get smushed by the electronic doors. Thank God I still had a few more minutes before they closed!

I was in Houtong after about 20 minutes, a short but enjoyable ride. As I got down from the platforms, I immediately saw different kinds of cat decor on the ceiling and on the walls. I saw a lone cat inside the station, huddled around by three adults and one child with their cameras out. I knew, right then, that the cat village is as interesting as other people say it is.

And yet, that’s not to say that I was a bit disappointed. I expected cats swarming the village like in that facebook video going around. That wasn’t the case; seeing a big number of cats at one time is quite a rare sight in the village. But don’t let my disappointment ruin your interest because Houtong has quite a story.

Town of Cats Taipei Taiwan

Houtong used to be a small, but extremely rich, mining town producing about 220,000 tons of coal per year, which made it the largest distributor in Taiwan. This industry attracted thousands of tourists and immigrants leading to the formation of at least 900 households and a number of around 6,000 residents. But for some reason, that didn’t stop the industry from falling, which eventually led to the decline of the population.

Then in 2008, thanks to some volunteers who decided to take care of the stray cats together with the power of the internet, Houtong slowly became a talked-about tourist attraction to what we now call the Cat Village. Because of this influx of tourists, locals are now making cash by putting up cat-themed cafes and souvenir shops. In literally all the stores I went into, I did not fail to hear songs sung by “cats.” It was mostly songs sung, not in lyrics, but in meows, which truly emphasized the uniqueness that this area has.

Cat Souvenir Shop Cat Village Taipei Taiwan

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Houtong Cat Village Taipei Taiwan

Tourist Center Houtong Cat Village Taipei Taiwan

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The Houtong Cat Village is truly not one to miss! For more info on costs and how to get there, don’t hesitate to send me a message on my contact page, or leave a comment below! 🙂