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My First Solo Trip to South Korea: Day 3

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Palace grounds during spring

As I was traveling alone, I realized that while I felt lonely at times, I still had so much liberty to do what I want to do, go where I want to go, and eat what I want to eat without worrying about anybody else. I was my own limit. I checked my health meter and I actually walked at the average, 20 km everyday. Literal na walk till you drop. I remembered sitting in the subway for about 30 minutes because I was so tired from walking. First time kong sumuko sa lakaran. Hehe!

Day 3: Itaewon, Deoksugung Palace, Gwanghwamun, Tongin Market, Samcheondong, Insadong, Gwangjang Market, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dongdaemun

On my third day of #Seouloflight, I decided to head first to Itaewon. Itaewon is a special tourism district where most international residents in Seoul can enjoy diverse culture, dining experience, shopping and entertainment. The restaurants showed influences from other countries through their design and menu. A lot of the shops sold imported goods as well. If you want to meet expats, they said that Itaewon is the place to go.

I arrived in Itaewon quite early so most shops were still closed. I just walked around and observed. Baka makita ko rin yung cafe ni Jo In Sung, eh. Accidentally, ang nakita ko yung isa sa mga locations ng Descendants of the Sun. 😀

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Welcome sign in Itaewon

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Greek-inspired restaurant

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Pub where some scenes in Descendants of the Sun were taken

After a quick stroll around Itaewon, I went to the City Hall area to pay a visit to the Deoksugung Palace. I’ve heard of this palace before but gained more interest when it was featured in Infinity Challenge. What amazed me about this palace was the mixture of traditional Korean design and Western architecture.

The palace is also known for its Doldam-gil or stone wall road which is one of the famous roads in Korea. There was also myth that the wall was cursed and lovers who walked along the walls would eventually break up. Dare to try? 😉

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Seokjojeon – Western-style building inside the palace

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South Korea DIY Solo Trip: 4D 3N Itinerary and Expenses

Having been to South Korea twice, a lot of people may think that I have already covered the must-see places especially in Seoul. But being a fan of the Korean culture and of course, the Hallyu wave (kdramas, kpop, kvariety), I know that there are still plenty of places to visit, food to try, and things to do. So when an opportunity knocked on my door, I immediately grabbed the chance and flew to SK with only Php9,000 on hand.

Background: I was supposed to fly to Sri Lanka last March but for some reason I felt I was not yet meant to see the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Luckily, Airasia offered full credit shell for my flights since they were changing the schedule from time to time. What I did after the refund were search for cheap Airasia flights for April and wait for the Yeouido Spring Festival announcement.

I also applied for a new visa. I had previous Korean visas so it was easier and faster for me. All my applications were done personally so I did not spend a lot of money except for the fare to and from the embassy and the bank certificate and statement. I have few passport-sized photos left when we applied less than 6 months ago so they came in very handy.

Luckily, two weeks before my intended departure, I found cheaper fares through Airasia (to Incheon) and Jejuair (to Manila). So I booked them immediately and used the remaining credit shell for my travel tax. I was also happy to see that the Php550.00 terminal fee that we normally pay at the airport is already covered in the airfare.

As for my accommodation, I searched using Booking.com for cheap but excellent places to stay near Myeongdong. I found the Namsam Guesthouse which was offered at around 25% off with free breakfast and no downpayment needed.

I carefully planned my trip and listed the places that I haven’t visited yet and buildings I NEED to at least see once as a Kpop fan – Entertainment Agencies! I also followed the restaurant/market/food recommendations of some TV shows that I watched. Pretty much everything in my itinerary was new. I was also intent on not spending too much since I’ll be traveling by myself, so I spread my funds wisely in order to cover many places and still eat delicious meals. 🙂

So here it is, my Php9,000 4D 3N South Korea Itinerary and Expenses. (Disclaimer: Suggested to Kpop fans and those who have been to other famous tourist spots in SK. If you want to visit Nami Island, Petite France, Palaces, Everland, etc. you may visit my other itinerary here.)

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4D3N Itinerary and Expenses

Click here for better resolution: Itinerary Korea 2016

 

My Not Really Solo Trip to Malapascua Island

Alone in Malapascua

Solitude

Since the first day of the year, I was itching to book a flight to another country for the Holy Week break. Time passed in a surprisingly fast pace, amidst the endless taping days that gave me my humungous eye bags and countless pimples. A couple of weeks before Holy Week, I found myself planning a trip to either Batanes or Cebu alone. I cannot believe that I was actually ready to do a solo trip. But as the days pass, my nerves are eating my insides in a dying fashion. I was constantly in communication with Vhik and Shiela if they want to do a trip to Malapascua but no one responded affirmative.

I was ready to take on this journey. After this, it could be added to my ever growing arsenal. Until… “Ha? Sa Cebu ka rin?“–in the middle of a dinner break in one of my tapings, a colleague said he wanted to go to his hometown. So after a few talk, we agreed to go to Cebu, BUT, no definite plans after that.

7 days before the trip, I found myself swiping my new credit card to book return tickets to Cebu. I was pretty bummed that in a matter of minutes, I actually paid my hotel, flight, and other things I saw on the internet (which I’m not really that proud of! Hehe).

View from the top

View from the top

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Burot Beach, Calatagan, Batangas

Burot Beach

Burot Beach

Few weeks ago, I was having a dilemma on where I would go this Holy Week. Last year was really an eventful one because I backpacked Indochina then. I couldn’t let this year go to waste without going somewhere special. I had Ho Chi Minh in mind but the plan did not work out due to budget constraints. I knew I had to travel and I had high hopes that there is a gem hidden just few hours from home. Good thing there were a lot of articles that featured amazing getaways near Manila. I opted for the nearest one from my place which was the Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas.

Summer it is!

Summer it is!

A Gem

A Gem

Burot Beach is a semi fine white sand beach just 3 hours from Manila (2 hours in my case since I live in Laguna). It was a ‘secret beach’ back then but due to word of mouth, a lot of people, friends and families alike, have been visiting this place.

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Survivor Calaguas

No picture will ever be enough to fully capture this beauty

No picture will ever be enough to fully capture this beauty

“Ang mahal naman ng 170 pesos”. That was my comment when the ‘caretaker’ of the portion of Calaguas where we stayed asked us for entrance fee. I have read blogs posted several years back that they did not pay entrance fee and that forced me to say that. But just like what Rhan and Ruby said, 170 pesos is nothing compared to the beauty this island has to offer. And that is true in so many ways.

Love at first sight

Love at first sight

How it happened:

My college friends and I were originally scheduled to fly to Bangkok by mid May. However, due to the recent political unrest in Thailand, we decided to skip the trip and just go somewhere nice in the Philippines to cap off the summer season – and that was Calaguas. I think saying nice is an understatement. Anyway, after almost a month of planning and a cancellation once, it pushed through. The number of people who first planned the trip did not materialize but going there ‘threesome’ style was an experience I will never forget – we did not have enough utensils and manpower to carry our supplies but it was a ‘survivor’ edition like no other.

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Calaguas Island: DIY Budget and Itinerary

Here’s my back-to-basics beach bumming experience budget and itinerary for Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. For the rest of our story, you may read this post : Survivor Calaguas.

I spent 2 days and 1 night at this beautiful white sand beach 8 hours from Manila with 2 of my friends. Below is our itinerary (budget for 1 person):

Calaguas Itinerary

Calaguas Itinerary