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2018 Travel Highlights

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Hello 2019! Me with my little cousin.

Happy New Year all! What a year it has been. 2018 was full of ups and downs but it was grand. I traveled a lot, met friends and relatives overseas that I haven’t seen in a while. Also, before the year ended, I got a new job. Cool eh? I wont start until March, but I’m excited!

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At the Harry Potter Studio Tour. June 2018.

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At the Louvre. Paris, France. July 2018.

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At the Natural History Museum, London. August 2018.

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The Stonehenge. September 2018.

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The Eiffel Tower. Paris, France. September 2018.

What I’m looking forward to this year? Well, more travels I hope! I will be going to Prague before the month ends and I will also travelling home on February. Exciting stuff. I’m also praying for this new job to work out. It’s a completely different field of nursing (I’m joining the Interventional Radiology Specialists Team), and I’m looking forward to it!

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At The Last Book Store, Los Angeles, California. October 2018.

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Las Vegas, Nevada. October 2018.

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The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco, California. October 2018.

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The Grand Canyon South Rim. Arizona. October 2018.

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Muir Woods Redwood Forest. San Francisco, California. October 2018.

 

 

 

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At the Fisherman’s Bastion. Budapest, Hungary. November 2018.

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Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park. London, United Kingdom. December 2018

I’ll be posting our Prague travel photos next time. I promise!

Happy Sunday!

Novel

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Happy New Year!!!

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Hello 2019!!!

Me and my little cousin.

I wish everyone a prosperous new year!

Novel

NMC approved the English language requirement changes for overseas nurses and midwives who wants to work in the UK!

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Good news for overseas nurses who are planning to work in the UK! The NMC will start accepting a level of 6.5 in writing, minimum of 7 for listening, reading and speaking. The overall total score accepted is still 7. This is good news, I struggled in writing myself and I had to focus my efforts in writing. I was lucky to get a score of 7 the first time I took the exam. Anyway, this new change will be effective tomorrow, 5 December 2018. Check out the NMC website for the complete article regarding the recent changes in the IELTS requirement.

Novel

31st Birthday in Budapest!

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Outside the St. Stephen’s Basilica

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View from the Fisherman’s Bastion

I spent my 31st Birthday in Budapest, Hungary! I went there with my aunt and we had a wonderful time there. It was only for 3 days but it was glorious. I loved Budapest and I’d love to go back!

I’ve planned this trip for a while. I booked the tickets several months back with Ryan Air because its the cheapest I can get. I was a bit nervous flying with Ryan Air because of the negative press that I’ve been hearing about them, but it wasn’t too bad. As long as you follow the rules, it went smoothly for us. Anyway, we arrived in Budapest on the 8th of November. The airport is almost an hour drive towards the city centre. If you are planning to go to Budapest, I suggest that you get a hotel in the City Centre, because almost all of the tourist spots are close to the City Centre. Don’t fret, the hotel accommodation are not too expensive than other European countries. The only cash I exchanged to Hungarian Forints (HUF) is around 83 pounds, I used that for food, transportation and souvenirs. I didn’t buy much stuff (I only brought a small handbag), we walked a lot, but I spent most of my cash on food, LOL. I used my credit card for the air fare and hotel, it was more or less 300 pounds for two people. When I went to Paris, I spent roughly 500 pounds in total for one person.

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Night cruise at the Danube river

We checked in on our hotel at around 5PM and then we went out to have a boat ride at the Danube. It was cold but I had so much fun. My camera phone didn’t really capture the beauty of the Danube River at night, trust me, its an amazing experience, the view was awesome.

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St. Stephen Basilica

The next day, we took advantage of the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I loved the food you guys! I highly recommend City Panzio Pilvax Hotel. The rooms are clean and their food is excellent. As soon as we finished eating, we started walking towards St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was only 12 minutes walk from our hotel. The Basilica is breath taking. It was small but we spent a lot of time there, we took loads of pictures outside the Basilica and inside it. We even went back after lunch to buy our souvenirs there.

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The Buda-Castle Funicular

 

Our next stops was the Buda- Castle. It was only 23 minutes walk from our hotel. We crossed the Chain Bridge by foot and it offered a great view of the Danube River during the day. We took so many photos! We decided to use the Budavari Siklo to go up the Buda-Castle. At this point we already walked a lot and I wasn’t willing to walk any further. Also, we thought it was worth trying the Buda-Castle Funicular, and it was! Again, the view is magnificent, it’s definitely a must try in Budapest.

 

I find the Buda-Castle beautiful because of the architecture and its amazing views. The Fisherman’s Bastion is close by too, so we walked a bit to get there. That was exhausting but definitely worth it. At this point, our phone batteries were running out. We had to go back to our hotel and we had to do that before our GPS dies. However, I suggested that we should drop by the Hungarian Parliament first, which is not too far from the Chain bridge.The Parliament is also a must see site in Budapest. After almost draining our phones for taking too many photographs, we decided to walk back to the hotel. We then found ourselves near the Basilica, we had lunch at a affordable Asian restaurant where we celebrated my 31st birthday. Geez, I’m really old.

 

After resting and charging our phones full in our hotel, we decided to check out the Hungarian State Opera. We had a difficult time locating the entrance because they were renovating it. Anyway, we did find our way in, but, the last mini concert and tour for the day already started, so, we just bought some souvenirs from the shop and took some pictures. The interior of the Opera House is grand, I’m sorry that I missed the show. When I go back to Budapest, I’ll make sure that I will get the full experience- mini concert and tour!

 

After the Opera House, we walked through the Andrassy Ut, it’s the Hungarian Version of Oxford Street in London or the Champs Elysees of Paris. We didn’t shop though. It was the easiest way to get to the Hosok Tere (Heroes Square). I think people will appreciate the place even more during the day, It still looks grand at night though. On the way back to our hotel, we passed by a small cafe that sells chimney cakes. Before going to Budapest, I’ve researched the “must-try” local foods and the chimney cake is the first on my list. I ordered the plain ones with just sugar in it, and I loved it.

 

My aunt was very observant when we were walking down the street, she’s the one who recognized the House of Terror. It’s also located in Andrassy Ut. It was already closed when we passed by, but, you will still see the Iron Curtain, a segment of the Berlin wall and the Wall of Heroes outside the museum.

 

I’ve been eyeing the cafes and bakeries while we were walking in Andrassy Ut, so, on our way back, we stopped at one of the cafes to buy some cinnamon bread, my aunt bought it for my little cousin who loves it. I bought a packet of coffee beans for my cousin Alan. I bought it for the cool packaging, LOL.

 

Our night isn’t over yet! One of the food in the “must-try” local food is the Goulash. It’s a beef stew with loads of paprika. Plenty of restaurants sells them, both the soup and the stew. I wanted to try the soup initially, but after a day of too much walking, I opted for the stew. We found a restaurant in Oktober 6 ut, I dont remember the name of the restaurant, to be honest. I think it is one of the posh ones because they charged us a service fee, plus the servers were very well dressed. haha. The stew was okay, I was expecting it to be spicy, but it wasn’t. My aunt didn’t like it, she thought it was a bit bland.

 


We also took some pictures at the Budapest Eye. It’s the same ferris wheel that was once in Paris. While walking back to our hotel, we noticed the crowd walking towards the Budapest Fashion Street. Naturally, we followed them. It honestly looked like the Oxford Street in London. At the end of the street, there was a Christmas Fair! A Christmas Fair┬áin November! It was awesome. I really loved it there. I wished I didn’t stuff myself with goulash. There was so many food and trinkets that you can but at the Christmas Fair. It’s definitely a must see place in Budapest. After strolling in the Christmas Fair, we finally got back to our hotel and slept.

 

The next day is our flight back to London. We still had time to explore a few more places before leaving, so, I suggested we visit the Great Market Hall. My goal was to buy Langos there and some souvenir items, but, we went there at 7 AM and they were still setting up. We were too early. My aunt did buy some souvenirs, I bought some bread from one of the bakeries inside the market. I was truly amazed by the cleanliness of the Great Market Hall. It’s the cleanest market I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t smell at all. Anyway, since I failed to buy some Langos in the Market, we had breakfast in Starbucks. We went back to our hotel and checked out a few minutes later.

 

Since it was still early, we decided to walk around a bit more, then I found out that the Christmas fair is open during the day too. So, we spent some time shopping for souvenirs, I just bought a sticker for my journal. My aunt bought a shirt, some more funnel cake which she brought back home to the UK. I honestly don’t know how she made all her purchases fit on her one shoulder bag. I was completely holding back on buying stuff because of the new bag policy of Ryan Air. I strictly followed the rules and I made sure my aunt measure her bag, LOL. Anyway, I had my first Langos that morning. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was good.

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After eating,we finally left the city centre. We took the 100E bus back to the airport. It was almost an hour drive, but we still arrived two hours early. We had our lunch at the airport and did more shopping. Ryan Air allows one duty free shopping bag per person.

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I had such a great time in Budapest. I would love to come back, preferably at the same season next year. The Christmas Fair was a treat. I wasn’t expecting that considering it was just the second week of November, but it was a nice surprise.

I hope you have a great day ahead!

Novel

Winter Wonderland 2018

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Last night was my first time in Winter Wonderland. I didn’t manage to go last year because I was still preparing for the OSCE. My friend, Brian, invited me to go to church yesterday at Hillsong in Dominion Theatre. I was planning to go to church anyway, so I agreed and we planned to go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park after church.

It was so cold yesterday, I was wearing 3 layers of clothing but I was still cold! So, if you are planning to go, make sure you are properly dressed. Also, prepare yourself for the crowd, believe me, its such a busy place. At the entrance, the queue is long, but we got in quickly. There is no entrance fee to the Park but prepare your wallets, everything is pricey inside.

As soon as we got in, we smelled the food. Food and drinks are everywhere. We tried the German sausage (12 pounds with two sides) and mulled cider (5.50 pounds large sized). Rides and games are around 3-5 pounds. This is probably the most advanced Park I’ve ever been, they accept contactless cards. There are some food stalls that only accept cash though, like the booth that sells churros.

If you like going to theme parks, you should try visiting the Winter Wonderland. If you are like me who doesn’t enjoy rides, you can still come and visit for the food, drinks and music!

Have a great day ahead!

Novel

California Trip Part 1

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photo by Alan Ribunal

I’ve been back in London for quite a while but I’ve been busy work that’s why I haven’t had the chance to update this blog. How’s your Halloween? Did you do some trick or treating? I went to my Aunt’s in Aylesbury during Halloween and it was a pretty gloomy day. I slept through it but my cousin did go home with buckets of sweets. Anyway, I’ll try my best to recount my two-week holiday in California.

My California trip has been planned about 6 months in advance. My sister lives there and its just fitting that I visit her. My cousin booked his ticket earlier than I did, but we originally planned to go together. We ended up travelling on the same dates but different airlines. He’s a loyal British Airways customer and I used United Airlines which is cheaper than BA’s. Anyway, when we arrived in LAX, my sister and her husband picked us up. I arrived earlier than my cousin so, we had to wait for him for about an hour. We had dinner at Sizzler’s which is a few minutes drive from LAX.

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Steak at Sizzler’s

When Alan arrived, we drove to my sister’s place in Hacienda Heights. My cousin leased a vehicle for this holiday, he’s our official driver for our 2 week vacation. We were so tired but slept fitfully because of jet-lag.

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WIth my sister, cousin and aunt at the Yard House, DTLA

The next day, my sister has to go to work, so, we had to go to downtown LA on our own. My sister let my cousin borrow their GPS. The traffic was horrible, but we arrived at my Aunt and sister’s office unscathed. My Aunt treated us for lunch at The Yard. After lunch, Alan (my cousin) and I decided to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks nearby, at this point we were so tired and sleepy but we decided to walk around downtown LA for quite a bit. We took some photos at the Staples Center and outside the Grammy Museum. we were so tired and we have a long drive the next day to San Francisco, so, we decided to go home.

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Our Hotel while we were in San Francisco

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The Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

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Ghirardelli Sundae

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Antique Arcade at Pier 45

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Hana Zen, Japanese restaurant at Pier 39

The Japanese Tea Garden

The San Francisco Bridge

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At the Golden Gate Park

Nature Hiking at Muir Woods

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The Redwoods at the Muir Woods

I woke up really early because I’m still fairly jet-lagged. Good thing our trip started at 5 AM. We had an early breakfast prepared by my brother in law. The drive to San Francisco was way too long, I probably wont go back unless I fly to get there. When we arrived in the hotel, my bladder was so full because I drank a can of Peace Tea, green tea. Its good but I didn’t realize that it was a liter! My sister did the same btw, we both rushed to the loo but the queue was long because apparently there was an event going on at the hotel. Just imagine my relief after using the toilet. The hotel was in a great location, it’s near the bay are and with free parking. My cousin decided not to bring the car whenever we go to the bay area because traffic is insane and its nearly impossible to look for a parking space. It was Fleet Week when we were in San Francisco and it was incredibly busy. San Francisco was beautiful but its too crowded. We went to Pier 39, The Place of Fine Arts Theatre, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, and of course, the San Francisco Bridge. After two days exploring the bay area, my cousin brought us nature hiking at Muir Woods. At first, I thought I would like it, but I didn’t realize that I will be terrified of the hiking part, it was a bit high for my liking. I barely took pictures while we were up the Muir Woods. If you are into nature hiking, you must check it out. We stayed four days in San Francisco. I bought some trinkets for myself and family. I spent a lot of money in San Francisco than in LA. I think its because of the hotel, travel and food expenses. On the way back to Hacienda Heights, we stopped by at Corte Madera and had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

With my sister at The Cheesecake Factory in Corte Madera

This pasta is part of their “skinny” menu but its so delicious it doesn’t taste like it has less calories!

This is what we came for, cheesecake! I think this one is the coffee flavored cake.

I’ll post the next part of my California trip later. I still have loads of things to do! I have an upcoming trip next week and I’m still sorting out our travel itinerary. I’m doing this in between work and social obligations, haha. BTW, tomorrow is my one year anniversary here in London! It’s awesome, thank God for a wonderful year! Also, thank you for reading my blog entries. I imagine, people prefer to watch youtube this days, I briefly considered vlogging, but I still don’t have the confidence to do it. LOL. Anyway, thanks and you have a great weekend ahead!

Novel

Arrived safely in California!

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With my sister at LAX.

Hi everyone, I’m in California! That was a long and exhausting 11-hour flight but I couldn’t be any happier at the moment because I’m with my sister whom I haven’t seen in 2 years! Since I have a Philippine passport, I had to get a US visa to get here. I had that processed in London about 6 months ago. It was a painless and quick application process, I got approved and got my visa after a week.

Outside the Grammy Museum.

In case you are wondering why I’m blogging now instead of going out and enjoying myself, it’s because it’s three in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep. It’s my third day here in California and I’m still very jetlagged.

Outside the Staples Center.

I’m liking the weather here so far, it was a bit chilly in London when I left, so, it’s a nice change when I got here where it’s warm and sunny. My cousin as I went to LA on a separate flight from London, but, this trip is planned several months back, we have loads of places to go starting today. We have an 8 hour drive ahead of us, we are going to San Francisco!

At the Yard House, lunch with my family!

With my sister at Sizzler steak house.

Spicy Jambalaya at the Yard House.

Steak with rice at Sizzler.

So far, all that we’ve done was eat and sleep. Haha. We are trying to get our energy back for our trip to San Francisco today. We did go to Downtown LA yesterday and walked past the Staples Center and Grammy Museum after a hearty lunch at the Yard House. I really enjoyed the food and the company.

Will update more soon!

Novel

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