Tag Archives: Travel

The trouble to see Chelsea FC

May 2011
Cebu Pacific did their 50% off on selected destinations which included Bangkok. It made so excited because my football team Chelsea FC was coming to South-east Asia for their Pre-season Asian Tour.  The cities included were Malaysia (July 21), Thailand (July 24), and Hongkong (July 27 and 30). HK would have been a practical choice in terms of money but I didn’t know anyone from that city and I was doing this trip on my own. Bangkok was more of a favorable choice for a lot of reasons despite having to stretch my budget a bit. 
Firstly, about twenty of my college classmates (Go Go Avoue!) are currently working in Bangkok. Secondly, I have friends who are also Chelsea fans so this will not be a lonely visit. And thirdly, I didn’t have to pay for a hotel since I was going to stay with a friend. However,  it took me until the last day of the seat sale to decide and finally book that damn ticket. I was so worried about pocket money. How am I supposed to finance myself? Can I save enough money in three months? But as my good friend said, “When there is a seat sale. go make the plunge.” Haha. I eventually followed his advice. Cha-ching. Happiness!
The problem with this ticket was that it leaves Clark International Airport. I had to book another flight to Manila and then traveled to Clark from there. Sounds like a lot, right? 

But I had this to motivate me. 
My ticket.
Weeks before I left the country, I had everything prepared. Money, Tickets, Backpack. The only thing that scared me were the immigration officials. Boy, did I hear a lot of stories. Since this was the first time I got to travel on my own, I really didn’t know what to expect. With some research, my visit to Thailand will not require a visa. I will just need a valid passport with a validity of 6 months (mine will expire on April 2012), a return ticket, an address of residence (covered by my good friend Doyle) and some pocket money. But wait, there was more. My friends said that I need to have a letter of invitation. WHAT? I didn’t have that. I had no time to prepare that document since I’ve only learned about it a week before I left. Another friend of mine was asked to submit one. Oh boy. Ever since I left Cebu the morning of July 23, that letter was the only thing I’ve thought about. However, I just had to be confident about my intent to travel. I also bought my company ID and COE (Certificate of Employment) for back-up. Surely, they wouldn’t deny me just because I didn’t have the letter.

The travel from Manila to Clark was a long one and I was panicking because I left Manila around 3 pm and my flight leaves at 830 pm. Turtle. The traffic in EDSA was horrendous. It took us more than hour before we finally arrive at the NLEX exit and another 2 hours+ before we arrived in Dau/Mabalacat Bus terminal at around 630 pm. Now, how to get to the airport. I asked around and there was this sorta shuttle-slash-aircon jeepney that offers a ride (500 php) to the airport for a minimum of 5-8 people. Since I was the only one traveling and I was in a hurry, I had to pay the entire amount. I did managed to bring it down to 400 and that was an achievement. haha. I do not believe I have haggling prowess.    

Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (as per my itinerary receipt) was something I did not expect. It was still “under construction”. It was small, like an ordinary provincial airport. I bet the new airports in Bacolod and Ilo-ilo looked way more decent. After I paid my dues (1600 travel tax, 600 for the airport fee), it was time to meet the immigration official. And I have to say this, he’s so gwapo. (lol). I gave my documents. He did some checking and asked me these questions:

IO: Mga ilang days yung stay mo. (How many days are you going to be in Bangkok?)
Me: Two days. Babalik po ako sa 26th ng gabi. (I will be back on the evening of  the 26th.)
IO: Ano ang reason nang pagpunta mo? (What is the reason of your travel?)
Me: Manonood po ng Chelsea FC. Meron kasi silang tour. [taray mode haha] (I’m gonna watch Chelsea FC. They are on tour)
Then he said, “Ok.” Stamp. Stamp. Stamp.
HAPPINESS!!! A sigh of relief.
The 5-minute interview felt like forever. It wasn’t so bad after all that worry. All is well that ends well I guess. 
All I wanted was to board that plane and get some sleep. I was awake for like 12 hours+ because I had to work the previous night. 

Suvarnabuhmi Airport 
This airport just floored me about how amazingly good it looks. I was in awe on how different it was compare to our own in terms of its size and design. Everything about it was totally new to me and so beautiful. The queue for Passport Control was so organized. I was so impressed. (hayz, the noobness)
I’d rather not talked about the bad taxi driver that greeted me on my very first night in Bangkok because all the other taxi drivers that I had during my stay were awesome. 
Next post, The Chelsea Day. 🙂

Heritage of Cebu

I became an instant tourist as I was heading to the city hall to get my CEDULA.  I’ve always wanted to visit these places but I never got the time.

I didn’t know exactly where the city hall was so I just guess on where I should drop myself off.  This beautiful church welcomed me on that hot day. I would love to visit the church, explore its grounds but I was on a tight schedule and just took a few photos.

Next to it is the Cathedral Museum of Cebu.  This building goes back to the 19th century.  I was tempted to take a peek but I just have to return on another day. I wonder what this museum has to offer.

A few blocks away is the famous Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.  It’s a 16th century church. It’s amazing that it had survived for this long. There are lots of saints carved into the walls and also in the big wooden doors of the church. As you enter, on your left there’s a collection of paintings of former parish priests, depictions of the relationship of our ancestors and the Spaniards who came. You can also find the Santo Niñ0 store. A small garden with a fountain at its center is located a few steps away. If you want to do some reflection, it is certainly the best place to be. The air is cool and relaxing. A good place to exercise your melancholy thoughts. Daydream for hours on end.

The view from where I sat

I didn’t stay long. I just sat there for five minutes, taking the scenery in. The garden is not really breathtaking. It’s peaceful. I guess that is what you need to have in a place like this.

On the right side of the church were various patron saints and a few devotees uttered their prayers. I’m not Catholic and I felt like an intruder. I shouldn’t be there in the hall where people say their prayers. I just took a photo of the beautiful grotto and immediately left. What I love about old Catholic churches is their beautifully painted ceilings. I wasn’t able to get a closer look but maybe one day.




The Cross of Magellan

I have lived in Cebu for a year twice in the last 5 years but I haven’t seen this famous tourist spot personally, just in postcards. I can’t miss it since it’s right outside the exit of the Basilica and the city hall is just a few meters away. Ferdinand Magellan planted this cross when he arrived here in April 8, 1521. Which reminds me of that infamous local song dedicated to this Portuguese explorer. How his arrival meant the start of Roman Catholic life here in the Philippines.

As I was in front of the city hall, the building has this  huge quote, “Public office is a public trust.” I almost rolled my eyes considering how our government is. But that’s another discussion altogether.

I got what I came for. I’m pleasantly surprise to be a tourist in that very hot day. All of it happened in more or less thirty minutes.  It was disappointingly quick. But I promise to be back and hopefully by then I’ll be bringing a bigger, better camera.