Friday, December 14, 2012

Trip to Mindoro (Day 1) - Dec. 26, 2009

December 30, 2009

The day after Christmas this year, my family joined the Elaine's family to spend a few days in Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental. My brother-in-law Eric and sister-in-law Vangie came from the States

We drove down to the Batangas Port via the STAR Tollway. It was a smooth drive throughout. When we reached the port, there were several people greeting us "Merry Christmas," I really did not know if they were asking for a tip or not. I did not give any, hehe. We were right on time for the boarding of the one and only RORO (roll on, roll off) ferry to Puerto Galera. It was the Reina Victoria of the Montenegro Lines. The fare was P1700 for the vehicle, plus the driver. Each passenger would have to pay a minimal fare. Before boarding, we were told to write everyone's name in the manifesto.

The sail was also very smooth. We reached Puerto Galera port in Balatero in about two hours. We had some difficulty looking for our destination, the Dreamwave Hotel in White Beach since it had no sign on the main road. We eventually found the way by calling for help. The parking was quite a bit away from the beach front though.

The hotel itself and the rooms were pleasant enough. There was hot water, cable tv and room maid service, which were our basic requirements for a hotel. This place was booked for us by our kumpare Mr. William To despite a last minute request.

When we arrived and settled in, I just slept this first afternoon away. Of course, the kids hit the beach right away!

Sydney, Australia Day 3 (Oct. 18, 2009)

October 25, 2009 On our third day in Sydney, the scheduled activity was shopping at clothing outlet stores. This is not an activity on my agenda, so I decided to stay in town, as I had other plans in mind.

I heard mass at the nearby Catholic church at 930am. After Mass, I decided to do my final "pasalubong" shopping at the nearby Paddy Market. I wanted my whole afternoon free since the Market closes at 5:00 pm (like most shops in Sydney). Our hotel is really great since all these places were just walking distance. So I was still able to drop off my shopping at the hotel, before hying off to Circular Quay again.

As you have read from HERE, I went on the incredible Bridgeclimb at 1:15pm. That unique experience took all of 3 and a half hours. It was already almost 4:30pm when I stepped out.

One of the freebies given by Bridgeclimb was free entrance to the Pylon Lookout, which was a tower at the foot of Sydney Harbor Bridge. Since it would close 5:00 pm. I had to rush up the several flights of stairs to reach the top. Now that climb (in contrast with the Bridgeclimb) exhausted me. But in return for that effort, I was able to get several great bird's-eye-view photographs of Sydney Harbor and its environs (which were denied us while on the Bridgeclimb since we were not allowed to bring our cameras there).

The Acrobat fit inside the small box!

Inside the Bridgeclimb place

On my way to Pylon Lookout

Spooky statues!

Sydney, Australia Day 2 (Oct. 17, 2009)

October 22, 2009

We were free to roam the city on our own on the second day. I was with Drs. Sarmiento and Potenciano. We walked to Queen Victoria Building again, and took the free shuttle bus (#555) to Circular Quay from there.

We spent the morning roaming the shops at the section called The Rocks. This is the historical section of Sydney, with several exclusive shops. The DFS Galleria was there. And since this was a Saturday, there was also the Weekend Market. There were so many stalls selling all sorts of Australian arts and crafts. The choices were overwhelming.

I had a cultural day ahead of me today. We had our lunch at one of the food stands at the Lower Concourse of the Sydney Opera House. Our tickets for "God of Carnage" were for the 2pm Matinee. I already posted my review for this great black comedy play. After the play, we walked around a bit more, but I had to rush back to the hotel in order to prepare for another play I booked for the night. I will post the review of that play also today.

A Pub

Jacaranda Trees

Parliament Building


A Urinal in QVC

Free Bus 555 Approaches

Circular Quay

Museum of Contemporary Art

Argyle St. in the Rocks

The Settlers

The Soldier

Weekend Market

Wild Parrots on the Tree

Foot of Harbor Bridge

Mighty Angus Burger from McDonald's

Capitol Theater

The Stage

The Curtain Call