I Wanna Sing In A Pub Choir!

I think I am a rare Filipino breed.  Reason behind this is because I cannot sing!

When I was in Jerusalem, I was able to meet a bunch of cool Jews in a coffee shop who were celebrating Purim. My sister Ester who toured with me decided to stay in the hotel to read about the Holy Bible’s Queen Ester, her namesake.

These young Jewish people were surprised to know that I was a Filipino travelling as a tourist in their country.  One guy then uttered to the group that Filipinos seem to have the genes for good singing voice. The whole bunch of these cool happy people then started teasing and entreating that I should sing a song for them.

a stock photo of my trip to jerusalem… it’s not rare meeting cool strangers in that city

I tried doing it but they obviously did not liked what they’re were hearing.  I stopped and did not finish.   I was like Cameron Diaz singing “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” in the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding.  After my singing, they were gracious enough to clap their hands while doubting if I am really is a Filipino and simply moved on and continued on with the Purim revelry with me.

I remembered all these when I happen to bumped into a fascinating YouTube video regarding a joint where hundreds of strangers inside the pub would learn and sing together a popular pop song.  Watch this…

Internet indicates that Pub Choir phenomenon started two years ago in Brisbane, Australia and the fun and fascinating concept/activity has been booming and expanding all throughout the Land Under. 

And if this phenomenon would finally arrive here in Manila, I would be one of the few Filipinos who could not sing would enlist and would definitely sing my heart out in this event. I and my rare kind of Filipino breed would definitely unleash the Cameron Diaz in all of us!

Handa AWIT!

 

 

 

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Capricious Cappadocia

Flying a hot air balloon seem far fetched and was never in my bucket list.  It is because I keep my list achievable, rational and realistic.  Though part of my bucket list is to visit the transcontinental country of Turkey, my flying a hot air balloon in Cappadocia was just in one of the plenty of things to do that I would not regret in case destiny would not let it happen.

And when I stepped on the tarmac of Kayseri Airport (after a domestic flight from Istanbul), I already concluded that flying the hot air balloon would be next to impossible.  It was snowing!

Prior to going to Turkey specifically in Cappadocia, one travel tip I read in various blogs which I realized to be very significant is to book for a hot air balloon ride as soon as you arrived and checked-in in your hotel.  Since hot air balloon ride is synonymous to Cappadocia, I suppose all hotels in Cappadocia has contacts to hot air balloon operators.  A tourist must request/book for the soonest possible day of the ride because not all days in capricious Cappadocia would permit flying because of erratic weather conditions.

And since Cappadocia just experienced the first snow of the upcoming winter, I already gave up the idea that I would be riding the world famous hot air balloon in this part of the planet.  The hotel owner told me that it would be impossible for operators to fly for the next couple of days.  He nevertheless told me that I am booked on the day hot air balloon flying resumes.  On when it is, only the weather knows according to the hotel owner.

But on the last night of my 5 days stay in Cappadocia while I was packing my bags for my return to Istanbul, the hotel owner was knocking on my door to inform me that hot air balloon ride resumes early tomorrow morning.  That I got to be ready at 5:00 AM because a shuttle van will pick me up at the hotel so as to bring me to the site where all the preparations and flying happens.

When I told the hotel owner that I may not be flying anymore because my flight back to Istanbul is tomorrow after lunch, he gleefully told me that all flying happens in the morning and that I will surely be back at the hotel by 10:00 AM.

On the last night of my stay in Cappadocia, I concluded that part of the heavy snow that fell on my first day in Cappadocia must probably be fragments from a lucky star that were sprinkled by the heavens.  I got to ride the hot air balloon! 

When our balloon was landing on the plains of Cappadocia, I have already concluded that riding the hot air balloon was one of the unforgettable highlights of my Turkey journey.  It was so surreal, the exhilarating experience was actually more than achieving and crossing out an entry in my bucket list.

Jusko, jusko, jusko! Salamat!

My kind of NZ Town is a toss between a Queen and an Arrow

When I have already spent a couple of days in New Zealand, I was starting to realize that this fresh country is giving Japan (my most favorite country) a good run for their money.  Everything seem so fresh, nice and clean in New Zealand.  Crime rate in NZ is basically nil like that of Osaka and even the public toilets were as clean as those found in the Nippon country.

Actually, I have long realized that if I will be given the opportunity to live in Japan, without a batting an eyelash, I would easily choose Osaka.  But in New Zealand, it would be a toss between two awesome towns.  I would like to live either in Queenstown or Arrowtown.

who would not want an afternoon sight like this

who would not want an afternoon sight like this

colors of queenstown

colors of queenstown

seating by the bench...

seating by the bench…

Queenstown is a bit small in terms of size and population for it to be considered a city, but the vibe and energy it displays is sweepingly large in scale.  I particularly loved the cosmopolitan restaurants.  The multi-ethnic offerings of these restaurants to its residence and visitors are impressively wide ranging.

No one should get bored when staying in this modernized town.  From bungy jumping to jumping off a plane or riding a crazy rough speedboat, Queenstown can be considered as adventurer’s haven.  But what I particularly love about this town is that aside from doing adrenaline-filled activities, you can take time to a slow down.  You can simply find a lakeside bench and engross yourself to the beauty of the nature.

early arrowtown spring

early arrowtown spring

colors of arrowtown

colors of arrowtown

taking it easy at arrowtown...

taking it easy at arrowtown…

Arrowtown on the other hand is a quaint little town just minutes away by car from Queenstown.  The tree-lined avenues (which I suspect changes its looks and color depending on the season) as well as the fashionable shops at the main road (Buckingham Street) are two of the nicest areas that this town boasts about.  And like Queenstown it also has a wide array of excellent restaurants.

This historic gold-rush town seem to possess an alluring character that is uniquely of its own.  It is so charming we actually drove twice in this town to further explore the sights and we even walked a short riverside nature trail to breathe some of the freshest air on earth.

Arrowtown has a much slower pace as compared to Queenstown.  Another impressive character of this town is that it is uncrowded. I suppose this is the place that Queenstown locals go to if they wish to have some quiet time for themselves or with their family.

I live at the most densely populated city in the world.  There is never a day in my city that I would not see a human being.  Everywhere I look, everywhere I go and everywhere I smell there is someone near me.  Thus, the uncrowded yet colorful places like Queenstown and Arrowtown for me are true gems of a place.

Samdey… samdey… titira din ako dyan!

Glacial Facial at Milford Sound

Milford Sound has been considered as the most visited tourist place in New Zealand.  It is the crowning jewel and quintessential spot of New Zealand.  Many visitors say that it is the most beautiful place they have ever seen.  It so beautiful, it is usually included in blogs and publications that enumerates the places to go to before an earthling dies.

Milford Sound is a body of water, thus, one has to take a boat ride to really appreciate its beauty.  And that’s exactly me and my friends did.  We took the tour as operated by Southern Discoveries which is inclusive of a sumptuous buffet lunch served right inside the boat.  It was actually a smooth connection between the 5-hour bus ride and that of the ship ride.  No worries, no hustle and surprisingly, no overcrowding!  Everything went smooth and organized.

cruising...

cruising…

And when the boat embarks into the water, further excitement about my NZ experience sets in.  The sights of the Sound were just gorgeous.  Limestone cliffs, snowcapped mountain peaks, amazing waterfalls and the clear water of the fiords were all so stunning.

I particularly loved the part when the boat would get so near the waterfalls throwing water down the sides of the sheer cliffs.  And according to the boat’s tour guide and narrator, water coming from above the cliffs were actually melted glacier from the mountains.  The narrator told all passengers to be ready to get wet and secure a raincoat because the bow of the ship will go right underneath the pounding falls.

The up-close look of the waterfalls were simply spectacular!  Only when the ship maneuvered right at the bottom of the falls did I realize how high, how strong and how massive the waterfalls were.  The sprinkling, the shower, the downpour of the glacial water on my face was something to behold.  I totally agree with the boat narrator’s description that the feeling would be like having a “glacial facial”!

Another add on about the Milford Sound cruise were the animals that tourists got to see.  We were unfortunate that we did not see pods of dolphins or rare penguins.  But what we found were lazy seals sunning themselves on low lying rocks.

getting ready for my glacial facial!

getting ready for my glacial facial!

strike a pose!

strike a pose!

Me and my friends were just too glad to do a 2-hour Milford Sound tour!  We were so happy that such an amazing place with all its natural splendor really does exist!

Kakaibang pasyal na may peyshal!

Window Seat, Scenic Flight, Happy Me

With the pretty numerous travels I had, domestic and abroad wise, I developed the preference of being seated at an aisle seat.  I am no longer the kiddo who prefers to be assigned at a window seat and stick my nose on the glass window every time the plane has to take-off or land at its destination.

My reason for particularly preferring the aisle seat is because I hate excusing myself from other seated passengers when I need to stand and proceed either to the pantry or the toilet of the airplane.  Seating on the aisle seat also gives me the pleasant feeling of being seated at a much bigger space! I can even extend my “long-legged” legs towards the aisle especially during the hours when lights are off and almost all passengers are in deep sleep.

But in my recent trip to Queenstown New Zealand, I was left with no choice but to rest my skinny butt at the window side of an airplane.  It is because the airplane that I, Joesel, Karen and Denton took was a small cessna plane that goes around the Queenstown region.  It is so small it does not have an aisle and only fits us and the pilot.

happy inside the hangar

happy inside the hangar

the gang! (banggang)

the gang! (banggang)

pilot alex assisting denton on his seat...

pilot alex assisting denton on his seat…

selfie muna

selfie muna

up!

up!

I consider my sitting at the window side for this specific flight as the most stunning flight I have ever had so far.  It’s a stunning 30-minutes flight that features the beauty of the whole of Queenstownship, the grandeur of the Gibson Valley region, the quaintness of Arrowtown, the intricacy of the Shotover Canyon, the serene Wakatipu Lake and the majesty of the Remarkables mountain ranges.

This scenic flight gave me goosebumps! I never expected that I would be so blessed to breathe, smell and see for myself up in the sky the magnificent beauty of Queenstown, New Zealand!  Only a crazy stupid soul will complain of being seated at the window side when the dazzling view out in the open would be an astonishing beauty such as this.

Sobra sobra! Owber sa ganda!

Awesome KJet was not in My Bucket

Bucket lists allows people to hammer our their thoughts, determine their hearts desires and resolve what the bones would want to feel.  It is a unique and distinct reminded of what sort of awesome things we want to accomplish, what terrain our feet desires to step on or what our eyes would want to see.

One of the items in my long and complicated bucket list is to see, feel and breathe New Zealand.  Which recently, with the blessings from the holy heavens, I have accomplished.  I could not ask for more when my feet walked the streets of Queenstown, breath the freshest air of Glenorchy and chomp on the luscious dishes of Arrowtown.

And throughout the visits in these lovely towns of New Zealand, I did not expect that I would be engaged in one awesome circumstance!  My visit, my plans and my list of things to do in NZ did not include my riding the KJet.  And I’m glad I did!  KJet is an exhilarating 1-hout jet boat ide on the deep crystal blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, the turquoise-colored waters of Kawaru Rivert and the shallow channels of Shotover River.

adrenaline rush

adrenaline rush

unforgettable ride...

unforgettable ride…

My riding the KJet has been one of the many awesome highlights of my visit to New Zealand.  The fast adrenaline rush was just spectacular!  Me and my friends particularly loved it when the expert driver would like throw the boat around and would do a 360 degree spin!  Add to this exhilarating ride are the stunning views of the remarkable snow-capped mountain ranges of New Zealand! The gorgeous view heightens further the already spectacular ride!

kjet groupie

kjet groupie

awesome!

awesome!

Here’s how fast and thrilling the jet boat ride is…

KJet was not in my bucket list, but this awesome thrilling ride will definitely be remembered…

Grabe! Ambilis-bilis! Angganda-ganda!

The Journey On Madonna Concert Ticket

I grew up listening to her music.  I grew up liking her ever changing image.  I grew up idolizing this woman who ignited an entire generation to express themselves.

photo from madonna.com

photo from madonna.com

Seeing a Madonna Concert is the only thing that is lacking of my being a die-hard fan.  Click this LINK for you to know how big a fan I am of Madonna: https://neillangit.com/2008/08/17/a-fan-of-a-golden-girl/

To fulfil my self-imposed requirement, I seriously considered travelling to Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012 to watch the Sticky and Sweet World Tour.  I chose Tel Aviv because that seem to be the nearest country where I can watch that concert.  Also, being a Filipino I need not apply for a tourist visa in that country.  But due to budget constraints I obviously was not able to go.

Then just about two weeks ago, my super friend Jesse who’s based in Sydney messaged me and invited me to see the Rebel Heart show in Australia.  He sent me the link on how the purchase should go.  This is despite the fact that Madonna performing in Manila is already becoming a big buzz.   I was so close to buying the ticket!  But for some weird reason, obviously I did not.

Until two days after chatting with Aussie Jesse, the big news was announced that Madonna for the first time will perform in Manila.  I did not believe it still, until I personally checked the official Madonna website.  And when I saw for myself that Madonna is indeed coming, I was like feeling so moved!!!  I know I’m not religious, but I felt so moved, it made me wanna pray!!!

the only one in asia!!!

the only one in asia!!!

Then, 4 days prior to the official selling of tickets to public, I received a text message from Citibank informing me that I got the opportunity to buy Madonna tickets because of their pre-sale program. I of course did not let this chance go! I moved my ass and bought 2 ticket seats.

I need someone to accompany me during the concert so I bought 2 tickets.  One for my dear sister Gaying.  My sister during the event has been assigned to pinch my nose and slap me in the face to remind me that what I am about to see and experience is not a dream.

finally!

finally!

Now that I got myself her concert ticket, one of my life’s bucket list will finally become a realization.  See you there…

Parating na ang sugo. Bili na ng tiket!