I recently spent a full week in Indonesia and discovered a lot of things about this country that would be helpful for first time travelers. I recently wrote about these tips here. If you haven’t read PART 1 of the series, just follow the link. Today, I’m sharing another set of tips to help you prepare for your next trip to this awesome country that is filled with culture, history, and nature’s wonders!
Stay left on the road when driving.
This country was under the British occupation. That being said, traits like the love for football and driving on the left side and having cars manufactured with steering wheels on the right are the norm. It took some time for me to adjust and every car ride would be such a thrilling experience because my brain would tell me something is wrong with their driving.
Bring an adaptor for your phone charger
Another example of the British influence in the country is their electricity sockets that are common in European countries. However, there are also ports that use the typical ones we use in the Philippines. The wattage is the same, only the port type is different. To play it safe might as well bring an adaptor to avoid the inconvenience of looking for one all over the city.
Traveling from one city to another may be quite taxing and expensive
Just like the Philippines, Indonesia is an archipelago. It has over 18,000 counted islands and shares borders with Timor-Leste, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. So brush up your basic knowledge of geography and check the distance of the places you want to visit in this country. If your stay is going to be eaten by the travel time to go from one destination to the next, might as well tweak your plan so that you can maximize your stay.
Check the weather conditions in your time of visit.
The weather in Indonesia can be quite varied. It would be best to check the typical whether conditions of the area you are planning to visit so that you can pack the most appropriate attire for the trip. When I went to the camp site near Mt. Bromo, the weather was super cool but when I stayed in Jakarta, it was really hot. When we went to a hot spring resort in Bandung, the weather was really cold to a point that the road was covered in fog. Other factors to consider are the time of day you plan to visit the tourist spots and if these sites are in the highlands or lowlands because they both affect weather conditions.
Find the best apps that can help you navigate your way
Two of my favourite apps/websites in this particular trip are Grab and Booking.com. Grab is our staple means of transport going to our hotel from the train station or from the hotel to the bus stop. Since the drivers later find out that we are tourists, they make the extra effort to make sure we arrive to the correct drop off. Also, I used booking.com to look for our hostels in Yogyakarta and Bandung. My favourite part of this website is that you have the option to book without having to pay anything so it won’t be a loss if you choose to cancel the booking later. Plus, you can filter your search such as the price of stay, wifi availability, or type of beds to match your specific needs so you won’t have to take too long to look for the perfect place to stay in.
Now that you are all set with these tips, want to work on your specific itinerary? Watch out for my day to day accounts on the adventures I had in Indonesia. Will post them soon!
It’s been a while since I wrote something here but August has brought a lot of wonderful experiences that I just couldn’t help but share it to the blogosphere. To everyone who’s been asking for itineraries, here is “My Java Experience” series. I hope you can pick an idea or two on how to create your own amazing travel itinerary in the beautiful land of Indonesia.
Is this your first time to visit Indonesia? If so, let us talk about some guidelines that could help you understand the culture of this awesome archipelago!
Research. Research. Research
There are countless things you can do in this country and it all boils down to answering the basic question, “What do you want to do?” In my case, I decided to go to Indonesia because I wanted to climb Mt. Bromo which is situated in East Java. Since I had time to spare, I went to Central Java and visited the city of Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjakarta). This is home to two world-known cultural/religious sites: Prambanan and Borobudur. The first is a Hindu temple and the latter a Buddhist temple. I also further explored the West Java area via city of Bandung and visited tea plantations, bathe at hot spring resorts and took a selfie with a sulphur-filled lake called “Kawah Putih.” (Want to know my itinerary? More to come in this series.
Brace yourself for some chilli in every meal. I already researched about the food norm in Indonesia but no amount of research can prepare me from the hotness of Sambal. It’s Indonesian’s basic condiment for almost everything they eat. I mean everything – from Nasi Goreng (Fried rice) to Mi Goreng (Pancit Canton), from Sotto (soup), Baksu (Batchoy-like soup) to a Dunkin Donut Beef Croissant. I literally wasn’t able to finish my first meal of Nasi Goreng because I was crying from all the chilli. Though, it was my fault because I did ask it to be spicy. The good news for you is that you can always say no to it. So when the waiter asks if you want your meal to be spicy, just say no.
Prepare to be a millionaire.
When I exchanged peso to rupiah (August 4, 2017) the conversion was PHP1= 247 IDR. So my 10k pesos converted to 2 million rupiah. I stayed a full week in Indonesia with only the first two days as actual planned travel, so obviously I had to look for a money changer shop midweek. It always helps to bring extra cash and make sure to google the nearest Money Changer in your area to avoid the hassle of walking under the sun with your travel bag on a Sunday! Extra tip: They don’t normally have money changers in malls. Banks don’t ensure money conversion, too. So you really have to look for an actual money changer shop for it. The one I found in Bandung is Dollar Asia.
Learning basic words/phrases will help you go a long way.
Talking to locals in English was quite a challenge to say the least. There were times when a merchant had to get a calculator to show me how much the product cost and a cab driver had to use google translate to let me know what he wanted to say. Compensating with hand gestures won’t help much either so might as well prepare yourself with basic phrases like “Berapa?” which means “How much?” or “Terima Kasih” which means “Thank you.” I bought a local prepaid sim and registered to a data plan. They have fast internet service even in the highlands so it’s so easy to use the wonders of google translate if need be.
Be ready with an exciting toilet experience.
I thought I could escape it, but alas, I still had to deal with their interesting toilet setup albeit just once. In airports they have certain cubicles with familiar toilet bowls and offer bidets and special bowl cleanser dispensers, in other areas though, such as the toilets in Kawah Putih, you are left with this type of toilet (like squatting in camping trips) and a bucket of water on the side. Bonus tip: Bring your own toilet paper.
Want more tips? Watch out for Part 2! Coming out soon!
Meet “Procrastination”. This dude is a really good friend of mine. We’ve known each other since way back before I knew what his name was. I call him, “Crasty” for short. In my pre-teens, whenever my mom would tell me to wash the dishes or wipe the table clean, I would find my dear friend and play with him instead. In my collage days, whenever I had to wake up for an early morning class, Crasty would lay beside me and remind me how fluffy and cozy it is to just lay down for a couple minutes more. This would later entail the couple more minutes I will be late for class that day.
But Crasty isn’t always bad for me. He helped me extend more days at home with my family when I should have gone to work. He helped me keep so many trinkets of the past because I couldn’t get myself to throw them away just yet. He also paved way for me to watch so many movies and TV shows ranging from English to Japanese, Filipino to French and Korean to Spanish because I would put off something else just to watch such shows.
And as far as I know, everyone else is friends with Crasty, too! Sometimes more close than they should be. Whenever someone puts off calling their families using work as an excuse, whenever someone opts not to apply for a promotion thinking they’re not ready for it, or whenever someone doesn’t work on his project according to plan because he’s scared to fail. All these, they do with Crasty by their side.
This New Year, Crasty has to keep his distance from me. It will be hard to let him go, but even harder if I don’t start now. Isn’t it clumsy to procrastinate from letting go of procrastination?
That’s my resolution for 2017. What’s yours? Which friends are you going to let go this year? Hatred? Fear? Laziness? Let me know.
Have a blessed New Year, everyone!
It’s way past your bed time and you find yourself tossing and turning on your bed. Your body is tired and is more than willing to welcome slumber land but your mind wouldn’t allow it. What should you do? Count sheep? Surf the net? Watch random cute videos of pandas and kittens? Nah! Try these five tips instead.
1.Work on a chore.
It pays to be productive if you can’t bring yourself to sleep. Wash the dishes, fold your clothes, shine your shoes, do the laundry. Trust me, you will not run out of chores to do. By the time you finish your work; it may seem forever but in reality it’s just 15 minutes, nonetheless you will be super tired, even your mind would want to rest.
I find myself most creative during this time of the day. So I write whatever comes to mind. If you have a blog, write a blog post (ehem). If you’re a budding author, work on another chapter of your book. If you’re a secret poet, bring that Shakespeare out and write a sonnet or two.
If you are a bookworm, then this tip most probably will be on top of your list. Go and read that last chapter of your favorite novel. But if you are more into magazines then check all the latest trends that fancy your eyes and browse away.
4. Listen to calming music.
This is my personal favorite. I just double tap on my Spotify app and play Spirited Away soundtracks or Yiruma compositions and I’m ready to sail into slumber land. Find the genre that suits your taste and calms your mind. Even if that means listening to punk rock or heavy metal, if it helps sets your mood to sleep, then go for it.
5. Catch up with someone.
If you’re energy is still up, then call a friend or loved one (so long as that person is most likely awake during this hour or else you might be destroying bonds instead of building it). Constant meaningful communication is key to strengthening relationships. However, if everyone else is already asleep, then send them messages that would bring their mood up once they awake. Your name will be the first thing they see on their phones the next day and you’ll have that advantage of brightening their day up with your simple but sweet text.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Sweet dreams, everyone!
It’s 3:16 on a cold Monday morning as of this writing. This is one of those out-of-the-blue posts that you do because your mind is wide awake and you can’t sing yourself back to sleep. Your playlist of JB and Ed aren’t helping, and your thoughts can’t help but wander from that delish pasta post on IG to your purpose and meaning of living in this crazy planet we call Earth.
Before I get lost in a trance from cyberspace awesomesauce aka watching random adorable panda videos on youtube, let me share three bits of truth that struck me today (strictly speaking yesterday). This may or may not be of help to you, but I sincerely hope the former will suit you.
1. Life is difficult.
I was reading “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck and the opening sentence of the first chapter of the book says, “life is difficult.” As I was going through it, I was thinking that yes, life is difficult. I know. Everybody knows that. But then the author continues with saying that most do not fully see the truth about life being difficult because people “moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.”
Apparently, life is a series of problems. Peck drives to his point by asking “Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”
2. Repetition is key.
I did some major house cleaning yesterday since my bestfriend gave me a spare cabinet for my clothes. I had to rearrange my stuff to put order in my chaotic pad. The result was immaculate! My place looks amazing now more than ever. It even sparked a cleaning frenzy so today I’m working on my door bedazzling project. Already done with the paint job, now preparing for the highlights.
Bottomline is that you should continuously work towards your goal. Your every step may not be equally big, but keep walking. Keep moving. Get something done. Be productive today. Every day. Life won’t be easier but you’re not complaining because you’re busy solving the problem.
3. Just do it.
No, this third and final bit of truth I came upon today isn’t from the marketing spiel of a famous sporty shoes brand. Though, the name of the brand did cross my mind while I was writing this since I’ve been bombarded with commercials repetitively about it since I can’t remember when. Bit number two really is true.
Anyway, I’ve been planning to go back to blogging my heart out since last year when I posted about me being back in the wordpress community. My planning was to no avail of course until today. You see, I’ve learned the art of procrastination quite well. Excuses rise from “My laptop’s busted.” to “I’ll do it later.”; from “What if I say gibberish?” to “I’m not in the mood.”
My laptop still is busted, so I’m typing from my phone! I may be speaking gibberish but I’m able to process my learnings today and share it with others. I am in the mood and I’m actively living my now instead of passively passing through precious time.
As they say, Just Do It.
What are your random thoughts at this hour?
It’s two in the afternoon, my body clock jars me awake. I came home around 8:30, dead tired from the day’s work (or shall I say, night’s work since I’m on night shift), and slept almost immediately once I saw my cozy purple bed calling me.
Now five hours later, I can’t get myself back to sleep, but am too lazy to do house chores to kill time so here I am, writing again, for the first time in a long time, reviving what’s left of my one-year dormant blog.
I know it’s been around a year since I stopped my regular posts because I just celebrated my first year anniversary in the company (hurray!), which was exactly the reason why I broke my writing cycle (boo!) adjusting to the new workplace and all (teehee).
In that light, this post is about celebrating milestones in our lives. In the past year, what milestones do you consider celebrating? What recent events in your life are worth being extremely grateful for? Here’s my top eight:
- Celebrating my first year in Wells Fargo.
- Moving in to my new place.
- Having mom and dad come over for summer.
- Having regular meet-ups with old friends.
- Traveling to Baguio and Vigan with my best friend.
- Going out of town with my family.
- Having the successful launch of the “book of love” project”
- Going mountain climbing four times in 2015 (and counting).
Cheers to celebrating small victories! What’s your victory story?
P.S. As the title suggests, I originally wrote this post a couple of months ago but decided to publish it today because it’s about time I come back! Thus, the caption on the selfie. (haha)
I will be posting separate blogs about each of my eight milestones for the year. Watch out for it!
I went home for only two days over the last weekend of 2014. The whole trip was so fast and short-lived that I sometimes wonder if it was just a dream, if not for the pictures to remind me that it really happened. However, short as it was, I am grateful to be able to go home and hug everyone. I haven’t seen them for a year and miss them dearly.
My flight was delayed for two hours and I finally touched base around eight. Mom, Dad, Ate, Kuya, and my six lovely nieces and nephews fetched me. We went out for dinner straight from the airport, then we went to City Hall to see the Christmas lights, and passed by Paseo del Mar on a crowded Saturday night to buy knickerbocker, my favorite dessert. We went swimming at Regency the next day and shared heart to heart conversations with my sister for lunch and dinner. I had breakfast with a close friend who’s soon to be a doctor on the day of my return flight; took family group pictures in between massages and pedicures then off to the airport again. *Whew!
God was so gracious that even on my way back, while I was waiting to board the plane, I stumbled upon a good friend from Ateneo. We’ve been friends since I was in high school and we were in the same organization called Kabataang Samahan ng Magis at Animo (KASAMA).
I couldn’t be happier to see her! We immediately dove in to conversation to make up for the four, almost five years since the last time that we saw each other. Even though we still get updates about each other’s lives via social media sites throughout those years, nothing beats face to face conversations.
We were so engaged in conversation that we even requested to exchange seats with another passenger in the plane. The other passenger was also gracious to let us do so. We exchanged stories from our trip home to our current jobs; from reminiscing KASAMA moments to love lives and what not, but the best part is just sharing the moment with someone you know, trust and miss so much. It’s that elusive feeling of meeting someone from your past and sharing all your fears, successes, dreams and joys without reservation.
At NAIA 3, we bid our goodbyes and I’m back to reality. Hello, Metro City and off to work again in a few hours. It’s a manic Monday after all.
Nonetheless, I learned three things during this one fine weekend: 1. It is not how long you stayed, but how well you spent the time you had. 2. No amount of money is wasted when you spend it for family because nothing beats going home. 3. Friendship is not bound by space or time. You won’t know who God would make you meet today and so savor every encounter!
To Ate Pia, cheers to our next rendezvous!
Growing up as the youngest of five sisters, I was always told how lucky I am to be the “bunso” in the family. However, my experiences can provide ample evidence supporting the contrary, but, this post is not about that. This post is actually one that reinforces the fact that, indeed, I am lucky, or rather blessed, to have big sisters in my life.
To my “ates” heads up!
1. I look up to you.
The four of you are my standard of what a woman, a mother, and a person should be. I respect you in everything that you do and am really amazed by how dedicated and loving you are to your families and especially to your kids.
2. I am so proud of you.
I know we all have our insecurities, or our bad days but please know that I have been, am, and will always be proud of you. No matter how many mistakes, missteps, or silly decisions you may make, you always have my back.
3. I am jealous of you.
Since you all came before me, you all have experienced different versions of mom and I am quite jealous of the fact that you get to experience mommy as the “first-time mom” or the “fashionista mom” and the like.
4. I am grateful of you.
You gave me seven really wonderful nieces and nephews who are basically just my younger siblings (with the way I treat them). Thank you, thank you, thank you for making my life really colorful with my lovely “pamangkins.”
5. I am happy to have you in my life.
I know I can’t choose my sisters, but I’m glad that God entrusted you, four, to me. He is so cool, because He gave me four of the most beautiful, caring, understanding, and supportive sisters in the world! I couldn’t ask for more!
Loving you always,
Sweetheart ❤ aka thepurplebliss
photo courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/49117452158946098/
Have you ever felt powerless? Insufficient? Lacking? At some point in time of our lives, we have those days when these negative feelings cover our minds and hearts. There are days when no matter how hard you try, it seems like what you’re doing is still not enough. No matter how much you give, it still doesn’t suffice.
However, despite all the negative thoughts, don’t forget to put room for a little sunshine. Think, “What I’m doing may not be enough, but I’m doing something.” Say, “I may not be giving much, but I’m giving nonetheless.” Acknowledge the fact, that you are in constant motion. Embrace the reality that you are doing so much better today then you were yesterday. You may still be far from reaching your goals, but you are living every day in a manner that will surely bring you to where you want to be.
So when all hope seems scarce and when you feel like the end is near, remember, here and now is actually just the beginning. Don’t give up! We are all in this together! ❤
photo courtesy of: http://wpt.org/Here_and_Now/main
Growing up, we are so used to being told what “not” to do and what not to be. Don’t say bad words. Don’t stay out too late. Don’t hang out with that crowd. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t dress inappropriately. Don’t act like a kid. Don’t do this and don’t do that. Once we’re older, it kind of sticks in our system. I believe society as a whole has this deficiency.
People usually try to find fault in others first. Teachers would usually pay more attention on their students’ mistakes. Employers have more regulations focused on punishments instead of rewards for their employees. Advertisers would pick on their target market’s imperfections so they can sell their products that promise perfection. People would spend more time talking about everything that’s wrong in their lives and other people’s lives than what’s good. It seems like most of us are always looking at the negative side of life to such an extreme that we’ve forgotten to relish in the beauty that also exists.
With spiritual direction, I realized the value of celebrating small victories. This means, in every good deed that you do or positive change that you experience, no matter how small, savor it. You don’t have to tell the whole cyberworld about it but you should acknowledge it to yourself or share it to your closest friend. This is an attempt to look more closely in the brighter side of things.
When making goals, instead of I want to lose 20 pounds, make it I want to gain more muscle mass. When searching for Mr. Right, instead of “I want to meet someone who wouldn’t hurt me,” say I want to meet someone who would love and cherish me.”
Choose more positive adjectives to describe your feelings, too. When someone asks how you are, choose to say, “I’m fine” over “Not Bad.” When giving instructions use more “dos” rather than “don’ts.” your subordinates will appreciate it.
When you fail in something, accept it, learn from it, and try harder next time. It’s still okay to identify the wrong things that you have done in order to learn from them, but don’t drown yourself in self-pity, worry, and self-deprecating thoughts to a point that you forget your value as a person and as son or daughter of God.
Celebrate your small victories. Your future self will thank you for it.