Saturday, March 13, 2010

..tHe New Zealand eXperiEncE..

"Kia Ora" the welcoming word once you arrive at Auckland International Airport, it is a Maori word for "Hi/Hello". Last January, I was able to visit and explore the wonders of New Zealand's North Island - Auckland, Rotorua, and Waitomo particularly. At this time of the year (December - March), it is the summer season in New Zealand where the average maximum temperature ranges betwee 20-30 deg. C.

New Zealand is an 11 hour flight from Hongkong via Cathay Pacific, not including the 2 hours flight Manila to Hongkong where I started my trip. Prior to this, I pre-arranged a 2 weeks stay to a "kababayan" whom I have met in pinoynz group of which I am a member that include meals, accomodation and pick-up from the airport upon arrival.

Due to unavailability of rent-a-car for the first two days upon arrival, armed with excitement, gps, travel guide which I got free, and NZ$ bills which I bought from Travelex at the airport, I roamed around Auckland by bus. Unlike Manila, where you can find taxi, tricycle, jeepney, and bus almost anywhere, here you need to go to the bus stop or in some instance you need to call the hotline for your cab. Bus route, time table, and fares can be found on the internet via Also,be prepared to walk most of the time.

Day 2, Auckland Botanic Gardens, just 5 minutes away from where I am staying - covers 65 hectares of stunning plant collections, native forest, lakes and wandering paths. Special attractions include the Potter Children's Garden, the Threatened Plant Garden and a splendid magnolia collection. The Gardens are open every day till 6pm (8pm during daylight savings).
The Visitor Centre offers visitor information, and a stylish café, overlooking the beautiful views.

Day 3, After picking-up my Toyota Corolla at the rent-a-car station, I proceeded to Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter - Underwater World. The Antarctic Encounter is home to New Zealand only sub-Antarctic penguins, offering a rare opportunity to see the magnificent birds up close in their icy domain. A unique snowcat ride brings you within arms length of the 80-strong colony of King and Gentoo penguins to watch their playful antics on the snow and their elegant flight underwater. In the Underwater world - Giant stingrays, turtles, sharks, different species of fish and other deep sea creature can be be found on the moving walkway.

Day 4, Auckland Museum. The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. It has pre-eminent Maori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections, it is a war memorial for the province of Auckland. Auckland Museum stands in Auckland Domain which has an spectacular view of the city and the Harbour. For a 35NZD, I was able to watch the Maori Cultural Performance. The show is a vibrant and entertaining glimpse of Maori Culture, culminating in a high-energy Haka - New Zealand's famous dance. After which, performers will then take you on a special guided tour of the Museum gallery.

Day 5, Just stayed at my accomodation, woke up very late. I had a good sleep that night because of the cool breeze through my bedroom window. I was able also to meet everyone in the house who were all very accommodating.

Day 6, armed with my GPS Off to MATAMATA at 7 AM, first stop the Hobbiton Movie Set where some of the scenes in Lord of the Rings was taken. From Auckland , about 2 hours drive to The Shires rest Cafe, the starting point of the tour. The tour costs around 60 NZD, if you are LOTR fanatic, this is worth visiting because The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for the LOTR can be viewed and how beautiful piece of farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Upon completion of the tour which is around 1 hour and 45 min. it will end at The Shire Rest Cafe with the sheep farm experience.

Next stop, the TE PUIA at Rotorua. Te Puia has so much to offer with various attractions from the museum, the carving and weaving school, the Maori house, The KIWI, and culminates at The Pohotu Geyser. Worth visiting with a daytime tour costs 43 NZD.

My Last Stop for the Day was the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. One of the most amazing caves I have ever been with worms glowing in the dark they are just stars at the caves ceiling. It is a boat ride tour and costs around 30 NZD and will lasts around an hour. Too bad it was prohibited to take photos as it may disturb them from camera flashes.

Day 7 -Lunch with my new found friends at the house.

Day 8 - Waiheke Island

Day 9 - Downtown Auckland and shopping

Day 10 - This day culminates my trip no New Zealand with the 9 AM flight via Cathay Pacific.

To sum-up, it was a fun filled worth remembering vacation and hoping that I could return as New Zealand has a lot to offer. Next time, South Island and Wellington!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another year, and I am still the same!

With the start of the year, I promised myself to engage in activities I have never been, try something new and be productive. First quarter of 2010 is almost over but it seems I can't figure out still how am I going to fulfill this promise. Another year, and I am still the same, can't focus on things I want to do. I tried to be productive as I can everyday but it seems I am going nowhere. I envy my friends who has wish list at the start of the year and trying to fullfill this wish list as good as they can. Can I still fulfill my promise?

I know within myself I have to change something, I know I don't need to be reminded over and over with the promise. I need to start from somewhere, but how? I told with someone before that I don't plan because I take them as they come to me, when asked regarding my future plans. But it seems I need to break this rule and have that plans written all over my bedroom walls. Am I just lazy or I am just a typical person who can't focus on my goals?

Now, I am laying out my simple goals for me to be reminded always:
1. Get out of my comfort zone - still I haven't done anything new. That trying to learn how to swim is still a big question "WHEN" for me as well as engaging in sports. I know the environment I am within now have something to do with this so I have a consolation.
2. Be productive. At the end of the day I have done something worthy. That includes blogging!!!
3. Eat healthy and have a daily exercise. Reduce my weight to 50kls.
4. Clean my room and keep it organize always.
5. Meet someone interesting.

I hope I could keep up to this simple goals always. The more serious goals have already set and I don't need to write it down I just need to do it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Merry Christmas!

May the true meaning of Christmas "" be always in our hearts always! Wishing each and everyone the best of everything this season could bring. Merry Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 07, 2009

First Class

Flying with First Class seats really gives me a sense of royalty from the food to its amenities. A warm welcome by the staff is provided with a cardamom-flavored Arabic coffee and dates, as well as selection of the freshest juice. With the help of a fully electronic control, foot rest, and an adjustable headrest, I was able to secure a comfortable position during my trip. Without a doubt, First Class cuisine is the best in the air, you get to choose on the menu provided.

This is the time that I really appreciate being an overseas worker having the time of his life in an environment very conducive for relaxing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

sTriKe oNe!

Driving in Saudi Arabia for over three years now have made me very cautious, alert, and very attentive while on the road. With my untarnished record of zero accident within this time frame, suddenly it was tainted yesterday, when I slammed into the rear of a native resident – a students’ car. Though, the damage on my car was minor still it was an accident that should have been avoided if road courtesy, road safety rules and regulations have been followed.

Although, road network in Saudi Arabia has the highest standard, with eight lanes for inter-city highway and construction of ring roads and over- or under-passes, still car accident is one of the top 5 causes of death in the Kingdom. In Riyadh alone, at least 5 accidents occur every hour. Traffic accidents are a significant hazard in Saudi Arabia. Driving habits are generally poor, and accidents involving vehicles driven by minors are not uncommon. Other causes are over speeding and inattentiveness.

Quick facts: In the event of a traffic accident resulting in personal injury, all persons involved (if not in the hospital) may be taken to the local police station. Drivers are likely to be held for several days until responsibility is determined and any reparations paid. In many cases, all drivers involved in the accident are held in custody regardless of fault. Those involved in an accident should immediately contact their sponsor and their nearest Embassy and Consulate. Under Islamic law, blood money of up to SR 100,000 can be imposed for injuries, so it is important to take out insurance to cover this. Speed detection devices are in use in the country, and there are standard fines for exceeding the speed limits of 45kph in urban areas and 80 to 120kph on motorways. There are automatic jail sentences, or corporal punishment, for some driving offences.

Friday, November 27, 2009

iF OnLy...

posting Ely's poem, a reply on sa isip lang.

remember the days we’re together?
isn’t it bittersweet and no reservations..
who thought that will be forever?
letting our heart flows in different directions..

grudges have no room anyway,
who do you think someone had a regret?
in some point we have those decisions what would I say..
never in my deepest soul, should I forget?

life is a choice of your own will..
how about the Almighty hands to you?
His plans are perfect , so better stand still..
did I said I follow mine or to those are few..

this again a piece made to you to think..
can somehow tell the contents of my within?
you can read twice and have a single blink..
are you a good one to be that keen?

—-cheers on xpressing the other side of yOu :)

tHe heRo wiThin uS

"Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry. "Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.
"So to each and every person inside ...this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers ... you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be." Efren Penaflorida

We are created unique; every one of us has the ability to transform whatever we want to everything we wanted to be. We have the power to think and knowledge to create something substantial and tangible that would uplift the betterment of our surrounding. If all of us have just to look inside our hearts and radiates that to everyone, this world would be a better place to live in. Everyone would have an equal share to what is available to us.

Everything boils into one word “LOVE”. If we have love for mankind and humanity, we have to act now; it is not yet too late for us to catch up on the things we have lost. I know it is not easy achieving our goals, there will be ups and down, all we have to do is to believe and have faith that we can achieve it. Let us unleash the hero within us, share the love within us and be an example that others may follow.

A toast to "Kuya EF", may you continue to be a good example of doing extraordinary things and may GOD bless you always!