Best place to get your money exchange in NZ

I think Auckland is a better place to have your USD money exchanged to NZD. I’m currently in Dunedin and have not had my money changed here but I happen to saw one of the rates last time and it was just standard. Will check on this though in the future.

When I was in Auckland the best rates were by Lotus FX Money changer. There is a specific street or branch for this one since one day, I happen to pass by two branches and one branch rate was better than the other. I don’t know if this was just a fluke or not or to beat out the competition on the same street.

(Will edit this again once I scan my receipts and find the location for this particular branch).

Once I have their rate and if I feel like doing some extra walking, Travel Money will beat their rate. Not by much usually, but they do beat it.

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





















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









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!