Thoughts about NZ

Just arrived in Auckland a couple of days ago and though I’m not staying here, I have a few observations.

  1. It’s a multi-cultural city. Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Koreans and other European nationalities are all over the place.
  2. Eating out will cost you $6-13  a meal. Buffets cost $20 or more. This is only based on what I’ve seen though.You can buy regular clothes for  P500-1000 pesos during sales.
  3. Down jackets cost a lot. Without sale some go for $500. Sale prices…$200-300. (P6000-9000 pesos)
  4. Money conversion stumped me at first. All I know is to convert dollar to peso. US dollar to NZ dollar, if it says in the money changer USD BUY 0.75…. Divide your USD100 with 0.75. That’s how much NZ dollar you’ll get. So a conversion that is lower than 0.75 is good for you.
  5. Be prepared to walk in Auckland, uphill and downhill.
  6. The weather here is funny. It’s sunny then in just an hour, rain can pour.

So far so good…will add more in the future.

Travelines TSA Lock on Sale at Handy Man

On sale 50% off
On sale 50% off – P162.50 only

This was cheap considering those TSA locks cost 400 pesos up. The downside – it came with no instructions!

So just a quick post on how to reset the code for this type of TSA lock. The rotate 90 or 180 degrees doesn’t work for this. But after finding this post in youtube, resetting it was easy.

*** If it’s new or if it is on the current code, press this little button on the right with a ballpen and – HOLD.

On Sale - How to Reset Code?
On Sale – How to Reset Code?

While pressing it, reset your new code then release.

Very easy though it took me 5-10 minutes to figure out how.

Here’s a link on the video that helped me on this.

Reset TSA 007 Lock video. Credits to the maker of this vid.

Buying my Ticket to New Zealand

Hello Middle Earth! See you soon.

The shortest but not the cheapest flight that I have seen so far from Manila going to Auckland is thru Philippine Airlines.

I got my ticket for about $600 US one way. That is like 30,000s  pesos.

Cheaper flights can be purchased thru Air Asia for maybe around 20,000 pesos but travel time is about 19hours compared to my 12hours.

It was funny but during the PAL sale, the cost for round trip tickets to Auckland was only 600 bucks too!

Sharing my woes in purchasing my domestic flight from Auckland to Dunedin….

I was browsing late at night still unsure on what airline to get. I spotted an AIRNZ ticket for 149 NZ dollars. This was the most expensive. You can bring two bags with this fare at 26kilos each, plus snacks and plus freedom to change the date and time of your flight.

I thought this fare would last for a day or two and I was still unsure about the time since I did not want to get a late flight at first.

To my surprise, just a few hours later (next morning) the fare is gone! Maybe I was mistaken and dreamed about my cheap fare?

Nope. AIRNZ seats go on sale in just a day! And then maybe they’ll have the sale again or maybe not. Booked thru jetstar instead. A bit apprehensive because of some negative reviews of delayed flights but at 139 vs 239 fare? yikes.

Buying Hong Kong Disneyland Tickets Online

Sharing my experience buying Hong Kong Disneyland Tickets online.

I was trying to find a cheaper ticket if I could. I looked through sites like Asiatravel and Klook. I was a bit hesitant buying at klook since I have not tried it before but since I already booked through Asiatravel for my Palawan trip I decided to try them again.

I first booked 1 ticket for my mom at the Disneyland website. If you think about it, you can never go wrong buying at the source! However, I wanted to book 4 tickets separately for freebies (Credit Card freebies). The Disneyland HK site though only asks for  the Credit Card owner’s name. The ticket will also be on her name.

I though there might be a problem if my mom will hand in 4 vouchers in her name on a same day ticket. I decided instead to purchase 3 more tickets using Asiatravel just to be sure.

Asiatravel has a promo and you can get the tickets slightly cheaper but with no free meal voucher. There is however one with free food but has the same price with the HK Disney site ($539 HK).

It’s funny though but the tickets I bought at Asiatravel was easier to claim. You go to the redemption booth and scan the code. The tickets plus the meal voucher comes out. With the voucher purchased at HK Disney you have to queue up and produce the credit card used for purchasing the ticket.

The only downside with asiatravel is you have to set up a date on when you plan to go. The Disney HK website does not require you to put a date so no pressure to go on your specified date.

The free meal voucher was a steal! Food in HK Disneyland was not cheap. It costs $100 HK++ if with drinks. So the promo really was a big help.

Pics to be uploaded soon.

Simala, Sibonga – Miraculous Church

Rooted in deep Christian beliefs, Filipinos are mostly religious. They believe in the power and miracle of prayer. They pray for healing against impossible odds, for success against uncertainties and at the same time, they also pray for all the blessings they have received.

We’ve heard of the deep devotion of believers to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo. Though it is not a contest, our Lady in Simala does not lack from ardent believers either.

Though I came to pray, I was struck by its impressive architecture and my inner photographer just want to keep snapping away at all corners.

 

 

Simala Shrine

 

Simala ShrineSimala

 

 

SAM_0010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simala

SAM_0019

Remove your shoes and go barefooted if you want to get up close to the figure of Mary at the back of this Church.

Very long line at times so prepare a fan if you get easily hot.

Along the way, you will see different testimonials of answered prayers by many people.

 

 

 

I’ve always have a fascination with candles especially in churches. I cannot resist not lighting one. I believe candles light our path and eases our hearts.

Why we light candles?
Why we light candles?

Simala Colored Candles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simala Colored Candles Meaning
Simala Colored Candles Meaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Pictures at the Simala Shrine

Hark the Herald!
Hark the Herald!
Red insect flying around the wishing well
Red insect flying around the wishing well
Simala
Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blinding Sun
Blinding Sun

photo 1 (13)

Statue of Virgin Mary
Statue of Virgin Mary

 

Here you can find different, impressive statues of Mary in all her titles like, Lady of Sorrows, Lady of Lourdes, Lady of the Assumption etc

Simala Wishing Well
Simala Wishing Well
Simala Wishing Well
Simala Wishing Well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get to Simala?

I read some of the blogs online and I was pretty confident on doing the whole thing. Good thing a friend of ours who have been to the place decided to come with us so we did not get lost getting back home.

Getting to Simala is simple.

  1. Go to South Bus Terminal
  2. Ride a Bus going to Simala

Aircon bus costs 70 pesos. Upon drop off, ride a tricycle. Cost per person is 20 pesos in tricycle.

In going back, (maybe I did not read this part in the other blogs) they dropped us off at a terminal and we rode a van instead. Cost 100 pesos. Drop off is at Santo Nino Church but you can asked to be dropped off at SM Seaside.

Note: If you want to use the pics in this post, please link back to this blog. Thanks!

 

Honey Hunt Pension House Review

Lesson learned: Be wary of not booking thru Agoda/Booking.com/Asiatravel.

I never realized how much I depended on reviewers’ comments in Agoda or TripAdvisor. Otherwise, I never would have been taken aback when they showed us our room at honey hunt house. It looked nothing like the pics on their website!

Pic from their Site
Pic from their Site

 

Our actual room
Our actual room. Lights turned off

Room Rates According to their site is this:

 Twin Room (special promo, incl free breakfast)

                                                              DAILY                 

One (1) Person                                      P650                

Two (2) Persons (double)                      P850             

Two (2) Persons (twin)                           P950                  

Budget (special promo)

                                                              DAILY                

One (1) Person                                      P550                   

Two (2) Persons                                    P700                

We paid 700 for our room. I assumed the difference in the amount was due to the free breakfast and not the room size! Imagine my surprise when they gave  us this room!

Take a look at our tiny, tiny, closet bathroom.

Our closet bathroom
Our closet bathroom

There’s no place to hang your towel inside, or your dry clothes. No mirror inside too. If you use contact lenses like me, then prepare yourselves!

My View of the TV
My View of the TV
Pension House Facade
Pension House Facade

 Most drivers don’t know this place. Mention Elicon house to them, and tell them your pension house is across from it. Or, tell them it’s behind Bangko Central. But usually, mentioning Elicon house works for us.

Person in the reception looked a little lost when I told her of my reservation. I don’t know if she just doesn’t understand me or what. So I showed her my deposit slip.

Need a little more friendliness at the reception please!

Oh yeah, they also forgot to give us towels! I thought you have to rent them or buy them, but they just forgot. When we found out about this on our second day, they still forgot to give us our towels. We got them on the third day.

Good points of the Pension House:

It was clean at least! No cockroaches in the floor I guess that’s a plus. Aircon was cool. And lots of taxis outside. It was cheap but I think if you add a little more you can have better.

We stayed here because we were going to have our medical at Nationwide Health Systems in Sanciangko (Read my Guide on  the Medical here). If you are not used to walking, it’s not a walkable distance.  Plus, think of the hot weather.

Next time, I will be a little wary if I don’t read actual reviews.