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Queenie Bantayan

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If I were to describe our Iceland trip in one word, that would be EPIC! All of my getaways were memorable for a reason or another, and this one too left a mark in my heart. I won’t forget a once in a lifetime experience. An adventure that only belongs in a dream became a reality. If I told my younger self that I’d be standing between two continental earth plate or I’d be seeing the Northern Lights I wouldn’t believed her. I can’t forget the extreme coldness that chilled me to the bones, nor the warm relaxing waters of Blue Lagoon, the fog I created when I’m breathe and the icy wind againts my skin. Ahhh there’s so much more I can’t put into words. Sometimes I just stayed still and breath it all in, that and that fact that I wore too many clothes I couldn’t move well.…

Looking back, our Cyprus escapade starts like this. We arrived in Paphos Airport at 23:40, the last plane of the day. How did I know? Because they’re turning off the lights when we came out from the restroom. Second to the last bus trip going to town is 00:00 which we missed by minutes and the last one is 01:30. We had slight mishap with our AirBnB host also, he thought we’re arriving 12pm instead of 12am or something like that, it was sorted out and our stay had been good. We found ourselves a kind taxi driver who charged as with half of what others were offering, but instead of dropping us in Karavella Station he stopped in Harbour Station. I’ve been to Paphos before so we asked him to drop us in correct station, he thought we staying near Habour station like most tourist does.  So the start…

What happened in South Africa stays in South Africa but this is worth sharing. From the cold breeze of Cape Town to the vast savannah of Kruger Park is wonderful country– South Africa. The place was surreal. It felt like travelling through timeline or seasons. Cape Town breeze reminds me of winter in Doha, a Philippine tropical vibe or spring in Garden Route, fall for the newly harvested hay along the way to Port Elizabeth and summer on a dry savannah of Kruger Park. Here are the few places I remembered. Penguins at Boulder Beach  When I was asked if I had a particular place or activity in mind I said “Happy Feet”. Boulder Beach in Simon’s Town is home to South African penguins. Located south of Cape Town, it is 40-50 minutes drive from the city or airport via Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road), a mountain pass. An alternative…

Present! “Calling the last remaining passengers of Cebu Pacific flight 5J 257 bound for Siem Reap kindly board the aircraft now.” Well, that was our roll call, we knew exactly we belong to that flight, they were calling out our names. For those who don’t know Cebu Pacific, their flight was delayed, AGAIN. So we bought instant noodles and sat near our boarding gate, then they transferred it to the farthest gate. I didn’t even finish my seafood sotanghon. We ran/laughed from Gate 1 to Gate 5. Bright side, tickets was on sale. It was a long day for all us, me and Ai2x my cousin travelled for 9 hours from our respective work places, Qatar and Saudi. Jems also had her own fair share of mishap. Her flight was rescheduled due to weather condition. She had to be transferred to another airline otherwise she’d miss our flight. Still with…

Nepal is a gateway to the top of the world, with eight out of ten highest mountains in the world. It is almost synonymous to Mount Everest, although there’s a trail from Tibet, Nepal trek is more accessible. It may not be a popular Filipino destination but Nepal has so much to offer, even following a devastating earthquake. It is visa on arrival, cost of living affordable, and its people hospitable. In six days we visited Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan. It wasn’t our first choice of country but I believed we’re exactly where we needed to be. For some reason we didn’t get a visa for Egypt, we ended in Nepal instead. It was jammed-packed week, everyday was a different adventure, and every activity was either exhilarating or relaxing. So here are the few things we did in Nepal Kathmandu Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal,…

Due to changes in our itinerary we had to transfer hotels every two days. Good thing, experienced different Georgian hospitality, bad thing we had to pack. Lotus Hotel Our first hotel was Lotus Hotel, it was average, wasn’t that fancy, modest yet clean. It is centrally located so its room price was reasonable. It is also walking distance from Avlabari Metro Station and Tbilisi St. Trinity Cathedral. Of three hotels we’ve been, this one was my favorite, no wonder it got a high rating from booking.com. Although the place is small the staffs were very accommodating. They’re adding personal touch to every guest. They showed us our rooms, we were welcomed. The breakfast lady took time to ask how was the food or if we need anything else. The receptionist, Maria was equally friendly. I lost my luggage so I need to call the airline. My phone was not working…

Because it’s VISA FREE! Hold it! It’s visa free for Filipinos who are resident of GCC Countries. Actually it’s VISA FREE to all GCC Residents*. For Filipino nationals who are not resident of GCC countries but is resident of Georgian visa free country, same applies, for any other e-visa is available. Check out www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/ for more info. It’s refreshing to bump into a Kabayan in Georgia and know they were not there to work but to travel. Every day we met another Filipino in streets, in restaurants, in tourist spots, even in our hotel. Georgia’s proximity and budget friendly tour packages made it easier for us. This is our chance to visit another visa free country. It’s always been a hassle to apply for visa with our passport. So many restrictions and frustrations and scrutinizations just to get a visa we want or need. I was denied an Egyptian visa,…

Not a fracture thank God, it was only a sprain but an injury all the same. We were at Plettenberg Bay for Kloofing and Bungee Jumping. While registering at Africanyon River Adventures, I dumbly decided to walk on a tight rope. I saw one of their staff confidently walking and I thought hmm why not try, it looks fun. My inner voice’s telling me not to do it, but I did it anyway. Then pop! Next thing I knew, I’m on the ground, my left foot hurt so much I cried. Ever had a feeling you had a bad idea? Yeah, most likely it is a bad idea. I needed rest for a few hours that means we needed to bail Kloofing which sucks, could have been an amazing. Thank you to the same staff for bringing the ice. Lesson learned on that. Now here are simple things to…