“Walk to End Lupus Now” 2016 in NYC

Lupus Foundation of America has been doing walk fundraisers for more than 8 years now, and this year, I was fortunate enough to be in New York City to take part and be able to raise some money in finding a cure for lupus.

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A cure for lupus will be beneficial to all lupus patients, all over the world.

“The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus.”

They have walkers from almost sixty cities across the USA who have raised money and joined this event. Some of them are lupus patients, some are family members of those with the disease, and others are caregivers or medical professionals who take care of patients with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus).

Four days before the event, I began my fundraising post on facebook. With just a few days left before the walk, with the help of family and friends, we were able to raise $375!!!

Thank yous go out to these awesome people:
My husband Marco
My parents Dith & Ed
Sibs- Kyt & Mack, and Kim & Chris
Relatives- Tita Mikki & Tito Joshua, and Greta Goetz & family
And friends- Nins Cortez, George & Kathy Luttrell, Kina & Phil Poggiali, Jo Ann & Joe Piper, Tita Malou Latonio, and Nins & Patrick Jimenez

The foundation was able to raise a total of $409,426, is that amazing or what?! Their goal was to raise $565,000, and they were able to reach 72% of their target.

May 14, 2016, 8:30 AM, registration started for the “Walk to End Lupus Now” event at the South Street Seaport in New York City.

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Event started at the South Street Seaport.

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Registration booth

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They had some entertainment going on to pump people up.

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Pretty big crowd!

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My friend, Kina, who did the 3.1 miles walk with me ❤
Waking up early on a Saturday and sharing her time with me, how wonderful is she!?!

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At 10 AM sharp, the walk began.

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And off we go!!!

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Why I walk?
For myself and for all Filipinos who have lupus.

Can you image how great it would be when they finally find a cure, and I can get pregnant without my antibodies attacking my baby in my tummy?! Because of your help, and all the donations that the foundation received, we are one step closer to that cure. And if not for my generation, then for the next.

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We walked along the East River.

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Halfway through our 3.1 miles walk, we had this beautiful view of the World Trade Center.

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The volunteers made the walk fun with their cheering and “wohooos!”

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And we made it! 3.1 miles for a good cause!

MAY is lupus awareness month, and YOU can help. Ask a friend you are having dinner with if they know what lupus is, tell a co-worker, help spread awareness. Ignorance is not an excuse, understanding and compassion comes with being well informed. Together, let us spread lupus awareness. As Tracy Chapman said, “If not now then when?”

 

Edited by: Kylie Padilla

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“You are not pretty enough”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

As I get older, I find people to be beautiful because of their heart. It transforms a whole person’s image into something grander than what make up can do. And this is coming from a make up artist.

Has anyone ever told you that you are not beautiful enough? Skinny enough? Tall enough? Popular enough? Smart enough? Hard working enough? Basically, that YOU are not enough?

I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation sooo many times. More times than I can count, more times than I would have wanted.

Harsh words given lightly should be buried deep deep underground. There are people who don’t think before they speak, OR worse, don’t care at all how they make others feel.

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Story no 1.

“You are not pretty enough.” That’s what she told me.

I am a dreamer. I love to dream. When I was a kid, every year I would sit my face right in front of the TV and watch Binibining Pilipinas (the winner gets sent to Miss Universe), and Miss Universe. I would watch the contestants sashay in their swimsuits and long gowns. I loved it. And there were nights that I would dream that someday I would have a crown. I don’t even remember how old I was when this memory happened. I was probably in elementary.

Before I continue my story, you have to understand one thing, I am a late bloomer, like an extremely late bloomer. My boobs came very late in life. I was wayy too skinny and too tall. I was always sun burned, I was a swimmer and I didn’t care what time of the day it was, all I knew was that anytime WAS swimming time. And through my dark skin, all you could see were braces clad teeth. I was the duckling, that ugly duckling.

One day it happened, she was just visiting, my eyes were glued watching BB Pilipinas. Then she uttered that 1 sentence I will never forget, “You are not pretty enough to join that.”

For what reason, only God will ever know. For an adult to shoot down a child that hard. I will never understand. I am an adult now, 32 years old, and I cannot imagine and I would never dream of saying those words to anyone, most especially a child.

Good thing though was that I was a hard headed child. Early on I realized that I liked doing the opposite of what people said. She said I couldn’t, I wanted to prove her wrong. And I did.

I never harbored hard feelings against her, I even feel that if it wasn’t for her careless mouth and own insecurities, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to aim for that dream.

Story no. 2

“You are prettier than her.” That’s what she told my sister.

So I was dark, and tall, and skinny. Not really qualities that makes a teenager stand out in a positive way.

I had 2 sisters in that point in time (3 now). My sister, Kit is very fair skinned, she has these stunning cat eyes, needless to say, she is gorgeous. My other sister, Kim, looked like a little Korean doll, adorable. And she has grown up to be a real live barbie doll. I love my sisters, I would and I did go to battles for them. We’ve fought and had our numerous amounts of hair pulling drama, but no one else was allowed to mess with them, just me 😉

I was in high school then, a common friend told my sister Kit that she was prettier than me. It didn’t bother me that she thought that. My sister IS pretty, I knew that. And she was my sister, I was proud of her, pretty or not.

Just with our skin color alone, I knew from a very young age that we shoot into different categories of beauty. And I never wished to be lighter skinned, I love my skin color. All I really prayed for were boobs. 😀

What I couldn’t understand was why was it necessary to compare. She could have complimented my sister without that attempt to put me down. It seemed unnecessary to me.

And recently, while we were at the mall, I over heard someone tell a mother that one of her daughters was prettier than the other, and the mother responded that no, the other one was prettier than the other.

Why are we so used to comparing? And why is it important that one was prettier than the other? Can’t they just be all pretty?

Story no. 3

“Be beautiful.” This was my sin.

When I was pregnant with Caitlin, my prayers would be “Lord, please give me a healthy, beautiful baby girl.” Everyday, that’s what I would beg God for (before we found out about her heart problem).

With everything that happened with Caitlin, I realized that there were more important things to pray for and want than your child being beautiful.

I cannot be a hypocrite and say that beauty doesn’t matter completely. Me, the girl who joined pageants, and modeled and loved all the attention. But, shouldn’t inner beauty matter more? How you raise a child and how you teach them to value and respect life around them is important, rather than caring and comparing which child is more beautiful.

With my 2nd pregnancy, with my Mary, my prayers had transformed into, “Lord, please give me a healthy child that will love and respect You.” 

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Like I said in my first sentence with this post, and which we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I respect that. But I believe that beauty also comes in all shapes, sizes, colors. In a field, what I may find beautiful is the green green grass, and what you may find beautiful are the flowers. It doesn’t matter, we cannot change what our eyes see, we cannot change what is attractive for us,  BUT we can change our words. Let’s be aware of the words that come out of our mouths. I don’t even know how I turned out OK after all that. Don’t hurt a person’s feelings just because you are dealing with your own shit.

March is National Woman’s month. Woman, young and old, dark or light skinned, tall or short, thin or heavy, WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are perfect because you are created by a perfect God. Why don’t we empower each other and motivate one another, instead of putting others down so you can feel better about yourself. Let us use the power of words to create a movement where where we all work together towards one goal – be happy versions of ourselves.

AND

Let us all thank God that my husband has very poor eyesight!

vQRLYnMR

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Sometimes it is ok to talk about YOURSELF

When it was our turn at the immigration in Manila, my husband started talking to the 2 officers about how we struggled for an hour with documents so we could save 1000php on my airport tax. Which we spent on food after, just cause that 1 hour of running around worked up our appetites.

Since there was no one behind us in immig, we started chatting. When the female officer looked at my passport foto, she did a double take and exclaimed, “ma’am, you cut your hair!” I started telling her how long it was and Marco was joking that next month he thinks that I would have it all shaved off.

The male officer looks at my passport foto too and jokes that I look better with this hairstyle. That I looked 18 in my passport foto, and I look 15 now (my husband, the cradle snatcher). The officer actually gave me a thumbs up sign with a smile, mimicking a facebook like, lolz.

Then he asks, “did you model when you were still based here in Manila?” I excitedly told them about my stuff. They started raving and asking more questions.

We finished chatting, we said good bye, and they were waving to use even after we had gone past their immigration booth.

Then my husband of 8 years whom I have known for 11 years looks at me smiling, “I’ve never heard you talk about about those things.” And I don’t.

Wait.. Well, I do when I do workshops because it is almost like it is a part of my resume. I do, when we are talking about something related to that with friends from that industry. I do, when I am trying to help a person be empowered because I’ve had my own fair share of crazy “I can’t” moments.

So I guess I can’t say that I’ve never, but, if there were moments that I have, I could probably count it in 1 hand. Husband though, has never heard me talk about myself in that way. It was probably very interesting for him. I don’t know how he observed the whole thing, as an outsider listening on a conversation? Did he watch me like I was a goldfish in a bowl? I’ll have to ask him later.

I feel though that I light up when I talk about it, these were things that I did that I enjoyed so much and have helped me be who I am today. I loved that part of my life and I am happy that I went through all of the hullabaloo. And some of my closest friends today, I met in that phase.

I like to talk to people, and I talk A LOT. But thinking about it, I don’t think I boast about those particular events in my life. I don’t think so anyway. If you think I do, let me know 😀

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CNY 2016 beach weekend at Cherating, Malaysia

We spent our Chinese New Year 2016 weekend at Cherating in Pahang, Malaysia.

We  found out about Ruby’s Resort late last year from our friend, Mel. Ever since, we have been itching to take that 3 hour drive with Kali beary. It was still monsoon season though, so we had to wait days and months. And finally, with CNY holiday being a 4 day weekend, we booked for Ruby’s with our friends, Nicole and Fernando- fellow Kali beary and dog lovers.

Paranoid about getting stuck in CNY weekend traffic, we set out for Ruby’s at 5 am on Saturday morning. It was no surprise that we took the wrong turn to the freeway. The Kuala Lumpur roads are crazy, this is why I never drive outside KL. We got rerouted and after 15 minutes, we were back at Jalan Ampang, which is 5 minutes away from our apartment. It was a blessing in disguise though, waze routed us to the back road and we arrived in Cherating at 9 am, total driving time of 3 hours 30 minutes. Not bad at all, considering that a family from our neighborhood arrived a few hours after us, saying that they drove for 5 hours because of the traffic in the highway.

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The map of the drive from KL to Cherating.

We found Cherating to be beautiful. The beach is clean, fine sand, and the best part was that it was not crowded.

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Ruby’s resort is set on a 4 hectare land and she has all kinds of animals. She is the only resort in Cherating that allows dogs as she has a whole pack of her own. During our weekend stay, we also met a lot of dogs and their owners who were vacationing, and we made new amazing friends.

Ruby invited us to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve dinner with her and her friends. We had hot pot, and afterwards, we joined in on the Yee Sang tradition, which is the prosperity toss.

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Tossing the Yee Sang

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Celebrated CNY2016 with our buddies Nicole and Fernando

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I am in labrador heaven

Yee Sang is a dish made up of shredded colorful vegetables and raw fish is usually served as an appetizer before lunch or dinner and everyone will say loudly their auspicious wishes while tossing the Yee sang so that their wishes would be heard and fulfilled. www.thesundaily.my

We had a very relaxing weekend.. We can’t wait for our next trip to Cherating! ❤

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These 2 jumped in the minute we got to Cherating

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Kali and I with Princess (golden retriever) and Stout (the black lab), Ruby’s babies

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Wubys in Cherating ❤

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Feeling the wind in her.. ears? 😀

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Oli and Utan came over to say Hi.
Look at my Kali’s face, hehehe “But I don’t want to share my mommy!” IMG_6385 IMG_6338
With my super duper happy Kali ❤

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Wubys ❤

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Just me and my Kali beary, thanks wubs for these awesome shots ❤

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My babies

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Wubys ❤

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Fernando and Marco decided that they were going to build a fire. And they did!

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Bonding time with this beautiful mama sita, Nicole, while the crazy husbands let out the pyromaniacs within them

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KO!!!!

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With Ruby, the owner of Ruby’s Resort in Cherating

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She slept so soundly for the 3 hour drive back home

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Help us raise lupus awareness!

Phil, lupus, feb

May is lupus world awareness month, and May 10 is world lupus day. I was not aware that there was a Proclamation in the Philippines in 2007, stating that the 1st week of February is Lupus Advocacy Week.

I got an email last week in facebook from Seanta, a fellow lupus patient. She was sharing this information with me, and we started chatting on how we can reach more people for Lupus awareness.

Being that my husband and I are based in Kuala Lumpur, and there was no time to prepare, I am doing my share by posting in facebook, and typing away on my keyboard. I hope you can help us too as we try to raise awareness for Lupus.

What is Lupus?

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the name given to a collection of autoimmune diseases in which the human immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues. Symptoms of these diseases can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs. (Wikipedia)

I find that the easiest way to explain lupus is that my antibodies attack my own body. Antibodies are suppose to fight off illnesses, mine don’t know any better.

I’ve been living with Lupus for more than 7 years now. I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of trials and hardships. Y’all know my story, our 1st daughter, Caitlin, had a complete heart block because my antibodies attacked her heart. She was with us for 11 days. https://kymalupa.com/2013/05/06/my-lupus-story-2/. And my miscarriage with Mary in 2013, https://kymalupa.com/2013/05/29/losing-our-mary/.

Through all these heart aches, my husband and I are happy and content. We continue to open our hearts and minds for God’s plan, and fervently pray for a baby, or 5 babies 😉 , to be a part of our future.

People always tell me that I am so strong, after having gone through these losses. But in reality, the strength is not from me. I am blessed with a wonderful support system. I have my God whom I always feel is right beside me, holding my hand. I have my husband who is the most amazing and patient person that one could have ever been blessed with. He is just wonderful from head to toe, and he always, always takes care of me no matter what. My family and my in laws, my bestfriends, my friends. Everyone has just been so supportive and inspiring. How can I not wake up everyday and see the beauty in this world?

But NOT everyone is blessed with a support system. Not everyone has reached that point in their life where they can see the positive albeit the negative. Not everyone has the resources to be able to take care of themselves the best they can.

THIS is why we spread Lupus awareness. Not for me, not for those who cope with the disease. But for those who are struggling.

I am just 1 face of lupus. Lupus has many faces. Each and every patient is different. The severity is different. And despite everything that I have gone through, I am still very blessed.

Back in Manila, I have visited lupus patients, teenagers, receiving kidney dialysis. Patients who have received knee implants. Patients who have lost soo much more..

Help us as we spread lupus awareness. Knowledge is power. Let us move towards a better year where we are all well informed.

A single act of reposting or posting for lupus awareness can do folds of wonder for our advocacy. I hope we can count on you to help us towards our goal.

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Spicy Mediterranean style herring penne pasta

Easy as 1-2-3. And delisyos. You will lick your plate clean. Count on it.

Ingredients:
1 can of herring fillet (6.7 oz), shredded
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons olives
1/2 lemon wedge
1 500 grams pack of gluten free penne pasta
1 tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
chili flakes, depending on how spicy you want it to be
1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

I don’t really do canned goods, but the Smoked Herring fillets by Rugen Fisch seems to be preservative free, and I’ve not had any allergic reaction to it. So when Isetan went on sale, I hoarded a bunch.

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I take out the herring fish and shred it, and set aside the oil it was marinating in.

Boil water in a pot for your noodles. Once it has reached boiling point, lower the fire and cook the penne pasta. I don’t like to add salt in my pasta water, it’s additional salt I don’t need in my food. And I add oil when my noodles have been drained. Make sure that you stir it constantly because they have a tendency to get stuck to each other and when that happens, you just have this big blog of penne pasta that is useless..

I noticed that brown rice pasta do not taste good after being refrigerated and reheated again. And it gets soggy when you pour hot water over refrigerated rice pasta. I try to estimate it that I only cook what I think husband and I will consume for 1 meal.  We can finish 500 grams of pasta noodles in 1 meal. This recipe can feed 3 people. Maybe four. So yea, judge us. We don’t care cause it’s THAT good.

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This is the penne pasta brand that I use. I bought 5 packs in London and brought them home here to KL. One pack is 500 grams, costs 2.49 pounds. If you prefer not to spend so much on just the noodles, which is totally understandable, you can use rice noodles instead! I’ve tried it and the dish still tasted awesome.

While your noddles are cooking, you multi task.

In a pan, heat up some of that herring oil, and saute the onion and half of the garlic. Let it cook on medium fire, stirring it once in a while so it doesn’t burn. Add your cherry tomatoes that have been sliced in halves. Next, drop them capers and olives in, squeeze in 1/4 of the lemon, cook for a minute. Parsley and chili flakes go in, mix mix mix. Add the shredded herring. And last to go in is the other half of your chopped garlic. I like to add it last to give it that garlicky fresh taste, ohhh yum!!!!

Add a little bit more of your herring oil, salt and pepper your masterpiece, and don’t forget to taste it.

By the time that your sauce is done, your noddles should be ready. Pour it in a coriander and drain the water. Return your noodles into the pot that you cooked it in (husband get’s on my case of me using too many pots pans knives chopping boards laddles, everything! So as long as they are still “clean” I reused them right away or quickly rinse them) and pour your herring sauce in. Stir it on the lowest fire setting you have on your stove, you want your noodles al dente not soggy. Adding a little at a time, pour in extra virgin olive oil, and some of that heavenly herring oil. Well, maybe more of that herring oil than the evoo. Salt it up a little bit more, and taste it again. And again. And again.

Darn it! I have to leave some for my husband! 😀

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Spicy Mediterranean Style Herring Penne Pasta

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Welcomed 2016 in Macau

Hus and I have celebrated 9 New Years together, in 9 different ways. This year we decided to welcome 2016 like we were still 21. Where it will be noisy and crowded! Forgetting that we are not 21 anymore. 😀

We had a great time in Vegas few years back, so we decided to make a trip to Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia. Legend has it that it is where you see grown men cry.

Since we were still in Guangzhou, we decided to travel to Macau by land, which was also the cheapest and fastest way to get there. We booked in advance for the 7:30 am bus that leaves from the Garden Hotel. It was an easy 10 minute walk from our hotel. One way tickets were 65 yuan per person and you get dropped off at the Gongbei Port in Zhuhai.

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That’s my baby, still smiling even though he was forced to wake up at 6 am.

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Wubys bound for Macau!

Everything went well that morning: the bus left at exactly 7:30 am; the bus seats were very comfortable; and and there was no traffic at all so as they estimated, we were at Zhuhai in 2 hours. We got off at the Gongbei Port and walked to Immigration to have our passports stamped for our China exit.

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The Gongbei Port at Zhuhai.
This is one of the ports of entry by land between China and Macao. The other one is the Hengqin Port.

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Wubys at the Gongbei Port saying good bye to China

Surprisingly, the line in Immigration was not long considering that it was day 1 of the 3-day holiday. In less than 10 minutes, we were walking along with the crowd, hoping that we were following the right crowd towards the Macau entry point.

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Because we were clueless, we played the game “Follow the Leader”

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It was turning out to be an amazing morning! We get to the Macau Immigration and finished in less than 5 minutes.
The guy in the checkered long sleeves is very engrossed with what he is doing. I took 4 shots, he was doing the same thing in all of them.
He left me no choice.

Once outside the port, we set out to look for the buses. We had to go to the Terminal Maritimo to pick up our “hop on hop off bus tickets” for tomorrow. When we got to the bus station, we found out that the bus only takes coins, and at that moment we had nada. Marco left to look for change, while I stood in line eating my sliced apple. One of the bus drivers, an old man, came up to me and sticks his hand out asking for a slice. I smile and hand him one. The Chinese man says “Thank you,” the Filipina girl says “Bu keqi” (you are welcome). Interesting..

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Husband comes back with coins, lots of them. And coffee breath. That’s why it took him a while!
The currency in Macau is Macanese Patacas or MOP.

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Commuting in Macau via the bus.

After our errand, we took the bus to Senado Square for our air bnb meet up. While waiting, we saw a bunch of people lining up to buy Portuguese egg tarts. OF COURSE, we got in line too and Marco tried one. He said it tasted reallllllyyyyy good!

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Koi Kei Bakery’s Portuguese egg tart

At 12 noon, the owner of the apartment arrived at Senado Square and we headed to his place. Marco and I napped and by 4:30 pm, we started making our way towards the Macau Tower.

It was a scenic walk towards the Macau Tower. We walked along the Nam Van Lake which is a man made lake, 1 of the 2 they have in Macau.  We had a good view of the tower, the Wynn hotel and the Grand Lisboa.

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The route that we walked from the apartment to the Macau Tower.

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The Nam Van Lake and the Macau Tower.

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Wubys, the Nam Van Lake, and the Macau Tower.

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They had some benches and street art on the walkway alongside Nam Van Lake.

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The Macau Tower was built in 2001 and is 338 meters from ground level to the top. It has an observation deck with a 360 degree view of the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Coloane, and China.

The Macau tower is open weekdays from 10 am – 9 pm and on weekends 9 am – 9 pm. We paid MOP 135 per person to go up the tower observation deck. www.macautower.com.mo

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Wubys in the Macau Tower, 233 meters above ground level.

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Spending the last day of 2015 with the one I wub ❤

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The view from the Macau Tower.

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And of course, we did this touristy thing.

From the tower, we took a taxi to The Venetian Hotel for our New Year’s Eve buffet dinner. Marco wanted to take the bus which was going to stop directly in front of the Venetian, but would take us about 16 stops to get there. I was not up for this and so I insisted that we just grab a taxi because it wasn’t that far anyway, 5.3 km. In my head I was thinking, what’s 30 mop right.

We’ll, we’ll, we’ll. That meter was damnnnnn cray cray!

Crossing the Sai Van Bridge was a breeze. Once we got off the bridge, that’s where the traffic started, and when the meter started sprinting for its dear life. I betcha, we were less than 1.5 km away cause we could see the Venetian lights shining brightly. We weren’t stuck for so long but when we got to the hotel, our meter read 63 MOP. ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME? If we had taken the bus we would have probably spent less than 10 MOP for both of us.

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I couldn’t blame this one on Marco because I was the one who insisted we take the cab. Darn it!

We went to the Bambu restaurant in the Venetian hotel for our 7 – 9 pm buffet dinner. The spread was amazing! And they had these cute New Year’s Eve paraphernalia per table. We sat there for 2 hours stuffing our faces and talking about our 2015. The lessons we learned, the funny moments, and the stupid things that we did – which were actually the highlights of our year.

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Dinner at the Bambu restaurant in the Venetian Hotel.

After dinner, we walked around and checked out the shoppes area and the canal where the gondola passes through.

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Who wore the hat better?
Marco – 1. Kyla – 0.

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Wubys at the Venetian Hotel, Macau.

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The New Year’s Eve concert outside the Venetian.

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We partied for a bit, then walked to the City of Dreams.

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In the City of Dreams.

We had been walking for a while and we decided that our knees and feet needed to get some rest. It was only 11 pm, we had an hour before 2016, an hour that we could sit our old butts down. We sat outside the City of Dreams, facing the Venetian Hotel. We could hear the concert from our spot, it was perfect. Despite our original plan of partying like it was 2001, what we ended up doing was far better, or so we thought anyway.

At 11:40 pm, we decided that it was the golden hour. If we didn’t skidaddle over to the Venetian, there would be no chance of us getting a good spot.

We got there right on time, and we were able to squeeze our way into a perfect spot facing the Venetian Hotel. They did a minute by minute countdown starting at 10 minutes. Along with the rest of the crowd in Cotai Strip, we screamed our heads off when “2 minutes” flashed on the wall.

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And before we knew it, we were counting down in seconds.
5..4..3..2..

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..1!!!!
You gotta greet the New Year in with a kiss ❤

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Happy New Year from the Wubys!

We took some photos and hurried towards the nearest bus station, just anxious to get home from a very long day. Unfortunately, everyone else in the strip had the same idea.

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Sardines, anyone?

While standing in line, we realized that AGAIN, we had no coins. Hehehe, can you say “Deja vu?”

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We walked over to Studio City to get a taxi to find a very long line. We walk towards the hotel lobby and along the way, one of the support staff outside Studio City says “Happy New Year” to us, and we recognized the Filipino accent. We asked him if there was a faster way to get a taxi, he said that we would really need to line up. He suggested that we take the bus, so we told him that we had no coins that’s why we couldn’t take it. Marco asked if there was a place inside where we could change some bills for coins.

This guy —

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 — smiles at us and says, “let me give you coins.” Let me GIVE you, not- let me change your bills to coins. I find that level of kindness very touching. Here is a man, away from his country and maybe his family too, working on New Year’s Eve outside the hotel where it was chilly, and offers to share his coins with us, the strangers that he will probably never see ever again. If you see Robin when you visit the Studio City in Macau tell him we said HI, take a selfie with him and tag us!

We thanked him profusely and took the bus right outside Studio City. It was a blessing too because we were the 1st people on it and we got to sit down. We got back to the apartment at 2 am, and zzzzzznored away.

We woke up bright and early, January 1, and started our day exploring Senado Square.

The Senado Square or Largo do Senado is a paved town square in Macau, and in 2005 it was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as it forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau. The public square covers an area of 3,700 square meters, this is one of the four largest squares in Macau; the others being Praça do Centro Cultural, Praça do Lago Sai Van and Praça do Tap Seac.

The square has been there since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and during the era of Portuguese control, this is where the local authorities used to review the troops on their inaugurations. Now, there are shopping centers and traditional Chinese restaurants around it.

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Senado Square

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Fotos we took in Senado Square the night before.

Walking down Senado Square, you will find Saint Dominic’s church. The church was constructed by the Spanish Dominican friars who worshiped St. Domingo and Lady Fatima (a Portuguese goddess) in the mid 17th century.

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Saint Dominic’s Church, Macau

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Walking to the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church

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The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church or Sam Ba Sing Tzi

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What. A. Struggle. to take this shot.

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Wuby’s at the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church, Macau

First constructed in 1580, St. Paul’s Church caught fires in 1595 and 1601. However, reconstruction started in 1602 soon after the church was burnt down. Completed in 1637, the church became the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. Unfortunately, a violent typhoon hit Macau in 1835 and the church caught fire for the third time leaving its glory a history.

The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt were built in the inner area of the Ruins of St. Paul’s where the magnificent church of Mater Dei had been previously located. Entrance is free, they are open from 9 am – 6 pm, and they close at 2 pm on Tuesdays.

In the centre of the Crypt, on the granite rock, lie the remains of a tomb, which might have belonged to the founder of the St. Paul’s College, Father Alexander Valignano. Along the sidewalls, there are relics of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs.

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In the room adjacent to the Crypt there is a Museum of Sacred Art, which includes objects of high historical and artistic value from different churches and convents of Macau.

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Wubys at the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church

We did a slight detour and walked towards the Hong Kung Temple, a 200-year-old temple dedicated to Li Lie, a Han-dynasty general. Google maps said that it is a 7 minute walk from the ruins.

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I don’t know what kind of walking google had in mind,
but it took us about 15 minutes to lug ourselves to the temple.

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Wubys at the Hong Kung Temple

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After the temple, we walked back to Senado Square to wait in line for a table at the Wong Chi Kei restaurant. It is a noodle and congee house which has a long history every since it opened in 1946. It is one of the most popular noodle shops in Macau and the line is always long. It is located at 17 Senado Square and open from 8 am until midnight.

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What we gobbled down. Marco ordered something with the canton noodles (on the right), which is their specialty.

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Our dessert.

After lunch, we walked to The Grand Emperor Hotel to check out the gold bars.

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The Grand Emperor Hotel

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In November 21, 2005, 88 pieces of gold bars were delivered for The Grand Emperor Hotel from HSBC Guyerzeller AG bank.

Our next stop was the New Yaohan to wait for the open top bus for our hop on hop off tour. We boarded the bus at 1:32 pm and just stayed on the bus to see the sights. We paid 200 hk per person online at http://www.goldspark.com.hk. Their open top bus tour starts at 9:30 am and departs every 45 minutes, and they have free wifi on board.

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Wubys on the Macau hop on hop off bus tour, Cotai Strip.

It was nice to be on the open bus tour, instead of doing everything on foot. We got to see more sights of Macau without having to move our layzeyyy butts. NOW I understand why these tour buses where always full! After an hour of being on the bus, we finally reached the Galaxy Hotel, our stop.

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The Galaxy Hotel, Macau.

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This hotel is huge! And we walked it’s whole length.

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Wubys in the Galaxy Hotel.

The big hotels in Macau all have free bus services. Outside the Galaxy, we took the bus headed to Taipa Ferry Terminal, where we were going to ride the ferry that would take us to Hong Kong.

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There’s my Wuby waiting in line while I take fotos.

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The Taipa Ferry Terminal

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Our 5 pm Cotai Water Jet tickets bound for Hong Kong

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It’s so nice to travel with my Wuby, he takes care of me and my luggage ❤

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Good bye Macau, we had a wonderful time! ❤

Sources
http://www.travelchinaguide.com
macaumuseum.gov
sumoeatsumotravel.blogspot.my

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Christmas in Guangzhou

And so we ended up in China for the Christmas season. Sight seeing, shopping, pushing and “Nihao” here and there, we had an amazing time!

China is the planet’s most populous country and second largest by land mass. Its civilization is one of the world’s oldest, and it has maintained an advanced economy for two millennia.

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Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and largest city of the province of Guangdong in South China. Located on the Pearl River, it is considered to be the birthplace of dim sum.

I. PEARL RIVER CRUISE – 珠江 Zhu Jiang

We decided to celebrate Christmas Eve by going on the Pearl River cruise. The Pearl River or Zhu Jiang is China’s 3rd longest river, 2,400 kilometres. It is called as such because of all the pearl colored shells that lie at the bottom of the river in the section that flows through the city of Guangzhou.

Just to be safe, we took the metro on December 23 to buy tickets for the December 24, 6:40 – 8:10 pm cruise. We paid 70 rmb per person, which is about 11$.

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We arrived at 6 pm at the Tian Zi Pier on December 24.

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IMG_0645We waited at the 2nd floor lounge and hanged out until 6:30 pm when boarding started.

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We bought 1st floor tickets that included coffee and “fruits.”

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Wubys on the Pearl River cruise in Guangzhou, China

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The cruise that we took was 1 hour and 30 minutes. The commentator spoke in Chinese so we understood nada, but this is the map of our route.
The highlight of which was the magnificent Canton tower.

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The Canton Tower – 广州塔 Guang Zhou Ta
During our 1st pass, the top of the Canton tower was wrapped in fog,
but still every bit as magnificent.

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Wubys and the Canton Tower of Guangzhou China.

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As our boat turned to head back to the Tian Zi wharf, we passed the Canton tower a 2nd time, and what a wonderful blessing that the fog cleared.

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Shèngdàn jié kuàilè!
Merry Merry Christmas from the Wubys ❤

After the cruise, we headed to McCawleys near the Wuyangcun metro station.

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Steak, pijiu and my wuby for Christmas eve dinner. Yes, everything is right in the world.
Pijiu is Chinese for beer.

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It was a Christmas miracle that they had gluten-free beer. Ganbei! (cheers)

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The day started hot so we didn’t bring our jackets with us. But then the temperature suddenly dropped and we had to walk back to the hotel in the freezing cold.

We headed back to the hotel, and snuggled in waiting for Christmas. Husband passed out around 11:40. I gave him a big jolt when the clock struck 12.

We woke up late on Christmas Day. We left the hotel at 10 am and headed to the Museum where the Nanyue King was buried.

II. MUSEUM OF THE WESTERN HAN DYNASTY OF THE NANYUE KING
– 南越王墓博物馆 Nan Yue Wang Mu Bo Wu Guan

The mausoleum of the Nanyue King is located at 867 Jiefang North Road, Yuexiu DistrictGuangzhou 510030. They are open from 9 am until 5:30 pm. Entrance fee is 12 rmb. 

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We got off subway Line 2, Yuexiu Park (越秀公园) and used Exit E, then turned right and walked for a 100 meters.

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The entrance to the museum.

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The entrance to the mausoleum of the Nanyue King.

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The map of the mausoleum.

This museum, built along the steep slope of Xianggang hill, is centered on the underground tomb of Zhao Mei, known as the Nanyue King. Zhao Mei was the second ruler of the short-lived southern Yue Kingdom (c. 2nd century BC) and was the grandson of the general Zhao Tuo from the Qin Dynasty who temporarily unified the region. Zhao Mei titled himself Emperor Wen and had his capital at Panyu, now a southern district of modern Guangzhou.

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The stairs leading to the tomb.

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Wubys in the room where the Nanyue King was buried.

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After leaving the tomb, we went up the Gongi Cassenate, the Gun fort.

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The entrance to the museum of the treasures of the tomb from the Nanyue King.

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The seals with the inscription “Administrative Seal of Emperor Wen,” “Seal of the Emperor” and “Zhao Mo” verified that the occupant of the tomb was the second king of the Nanyue Kingdom.

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The dead King was covered in a shroud sewn with silk thread. It is composed of 2291 pieces of Jade. 2291 PIECES OF JADE! Is that crazy or what?!

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Before leaving the museum, we passed by the gift shop and Marco bought us a hand painted  little crystal jar. The painting is done from the inside and requires so much precision and patience, the artist has been doing this for 30 years.

We finished touring the museum at around 12 noon and because we only ate fruits for breakfast, our stomachs were already growling. We did not want to waste time by searching for a place for lunch so we just went in the 1st restaurant we found. It was nothing special from the outside but Marco said that the soup he had was delicious.

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III. TEMPLE OF THE SIX  BANYAN TREES – 六榕寺 Liù róng sì

From the restaurant, we took a cab to the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. It wasn’t very far from the museum, we paid about 15 rmb. If you are up for a little exercise, it is a walkable distance.

The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is a Chinese Buddhist temple in Guangzhou originally built in 537 AD during the Liang dynasty. Entrance fee is 5 rmb.

The name of the temple has been changed several times from Changshou Temple (meaning Longevity Temple) to Jinghui Temple and finally the current name. It is a name given by the great liiterateur Su Dongpo in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). It is said that he visited there while returning to the north. During the visit, he found six banyan trees there particularly striking. The vitality of the trees put him in a good mood and cheered him up. When the abbot of the monastery invited him to suggest a name, Su Dongpo wrote down its present name. Finally, its former name (Jinghui Temple) was changed to the present one, Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.

We were very excited to see the  Flowery Pagoda inside. It is a pagoda where Buddhist relics are placed. Its roofs curve upwards and look like dark red flower petals. The tip of the pagoda is like stamens, while the whole construction looks like a huge stigma high in the air.

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This is how it looks online. Beautiful, right?

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This is what we saw. Hahaha. They are renovating it for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Fail. Hehehe.

DSC00810 DSC00815Inside the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.

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Wubys at the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees in Guangzhou, China.

From the temple we decided to just walk and find our way to the Guangxiao temple. Good thing my husband has awesome sense of direction and knows some Mandarin that we were able to find our way without getting lost.

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IV. GUANGXIAO TEMPLE – 光孝寺 Guāngxiào sì

Guangxiao Temple on Guangxiao Road is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Guangzhou. As the special geographical position, Guangxiao Temple often acted as a stopover point for Asian missionary monks in the past.

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The Mahavira Hall.
It is the main building in the Guangxiao temple complex where Gautama Buddha and other buddhas and bodhisattvas are enshrined.

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Wubys at the Guangxiao Temple

V. THE CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS – 圣心大教堂 Shèng xìn dá jiāo táng

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also known as Stone House by locals, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Guangzhou. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guangzhou.

We arrived at the church at 3 pm, just in time for the 3:30 pm Christmas Day mass.

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Inside the cathedral.

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Wubys at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Guangzhou, China.

After the mass, we headed to Taikoo Hui mall for our Christmas dinner at “The Famous Chef from Jiangnan China” restaurant.

We had the most amazing choices of Chinese food. We waited for more than an hour for a table, but it was worth it! If I died that night because of MSG overdose, I would have died happy 😀

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A Chinese Christmas dinner ❤

That was the end of our Christmas day adventure. We headed home and snored ourselves to sleep with all that walking we did.

Of course, a trip anywhere is not complete without “some” shopping. We went to a couple of shopping spots in Guangzhou while on vacation.

And we also saw other tourist spots in Guangzhou during our Christmas vacation.

VI. THE GUANGZHOU METRO – 广州地铁 Guangzhou Di Tie

We took the subway a lot and the Guangzhou Metro was an easy and cheap way to navigate the city. We paid 70 rmb for the metro card, which had 50 rmb cash inside.

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Map of the Guangzhou metro system

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Wubys taking the Guangzhou metro

VII. ZHAN XI ROAD – 站西路

Zhan Xi Clothing Wholesale Market is near to the Guangzhou Railway Station and the provincial bus station. It is the clothing distribution center in Guangzhou and South China.

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Wubys at Zhan Xi Road.

VIII. SHANGXIAJIU STREET – 上下九街

Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, or simply as Shangxiajiu, is a commercial pedestrian street in Liwan District, Guangzhou. It is the first business street in Guangzhou and it opened in September 1995.

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Wubys at the Shangxiajiu Street square

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My brave husband, lol.

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Trying some street food

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Wubys at the Shangxiajiu Street

IX. HAI XIN SHA – 海心沙

Haixinsha Island is an island in Guangzhou located to the south of Zhujiang New Town, the newly developed CBD of the city, to the north of Canton Tower, an iconic architectural landmark, and to the east of Er Sha Island.

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Wubsy at Hai Xin Sha Island in Guangzhou.
The Canton tower is hardly visible because of the pollution 😀

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X. GUANGZHOU OPERA HOUSE – 广州歌剧院 Guǎngzhōu gē jùyuàn

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The Guangzhou Opera House is newly constructed.

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Wubys at the Guangzhou Opera House

XI. THE GUANGZHOU LIBRARY – 广州图书馆 Guǎngzhōu túshū guǎn

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Inside the Guangzhou Library

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Wubys at the Guangzhou Public Library

XII. BEIJING ROAD PEDESTRIAN STREET – 北京路步行街

Beijing Road Pedestrian Street is a typically crowded place to shop and eat, especially during weekends. There are about 140 stores in this 440-meter street.

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Wubys at Beijing Lu.
In 2002, they discovered parts of the road from the Tang Dynasty of the 7th century and they have preserved it covering it with glass.

XIII. BAI MA – 白马

Bai Ma, the land of the brave shoppers. If you don’t mind being pushed and bumped, and hear nonstop shouting, then hail a taxi and head to Bai Ma. It is the most famous clothing wholesale market in Guangzhou.

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Wubys at Bai Ma

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We took a taxi to Bai Ma, but it is actually close to the Guangzhou railway station at Zhan Nan Lu. Oh, yea, Lu means Road.

We loved Guangzhou! It was better than what we expected, and the pollution was not horrible compared to Beijing or Shanghai. The city is upbeat and modern, good food- amazing dim sum, and crazy cheap shopping!

We met a lot of people and made so many new friends that we will definitely consider coming back to Guangzhou again. ❤

Zàijiàn Guangzhou! Zhídào wǒmen zài jiànmiàn. 
Good bye Guangzhou! Til we meet again.

REFERENCES
http://topics.nytimes.com
https://www.google.com
en.wikipedia.org
http://www.travelchinaguide.com
http://www.guangzhoutravelguide.com
http://www.chinahighlights.com

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London sightseeing on a budget

15 tourist spots in Central London, in 4 hours, at 4 degrees Celsius, with 6.40 pounds.

Call me crazy? Bite your tongue!

 

We left Canary Wharf at 11:05 am. Five minutes late, Filipino time. Yep, old habits die hard.

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The big guys you see walking into Canary Wharf

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Hus at the Canary Wharf underground station

THE OYSTER CARD

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Travelling around London is very easy, riding the tube is a breeze, you will have to do a lot of walking though to get around.

You get an Oyster card, top it up and you are off. Prices per entry differ depending on the line and if it is during peak hours or not.

Fortunately, they do have have what is called the “daily cap,” it is the maximum amount you can be charged if you are travelling in the tube for more than 3 times in 1 day. The price depends on what zone you are travelling to and from. For the day, we traveled within zones 1 and 2, which made our travel expense only 6.40 pounds per person. This is not bad if you compare it to the Hop On Hop Off bus which charges 21 pounds per adult.

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1. LONDON BRIDGE

We took the Jubilee line from Canary wharf to London bridge, a quick 6 minute ride.

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Wubys on the London Bridge which was built in 1824.

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Wubys with Michal and Bartek.

2. RIVER THAMES

The River Thames is a river that flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn.

8 Interesting facts about the River Thames:

  1. The River Thames may take its name from the Sanskrit Tamas meaning “dark” as its waters are often dark and cloudy; another school of thought is that it is named after the Roman Tam meaning “wide” and Isis meaning water.
  2. Henley-on-Thames is famous for its regatta which started in 1839 and gained royal patronage in 1851. The first Oxford and Cambridge boat races were held here and finished at Henley bridge.
  3. There are 45 locks on the non-tidal River Thames.
  4. Buscot Lock, just east of Lechlade, is the smallest lock on the river.
  5. Pangbourne, where the river Pang flows into the River Thames, is famous as the home of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows and also as the place where Jerome K Jerome’s three men in a boat finish their journey at the Swan Inn.
  6. Just downriver from Pangbourne is Mapledurham House, dating from 1588, and thought to be the model for Toad Hall.
  7. The non-tidal River Thames is home to over 25 species of coarse fish.
  8. The Thames Path follows the river for 296km (184 miles) from its source, making it the longest riverside walk in Europe.

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Folks kayaking on the River Thames in November, when the temperature is 4 degrees.

3. THE QUEEN’S WALK

The Queen’s Walk is a promenade located on the southern bank of the River Thames in London, between Lambeth Bridge and Tower Bridge.

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Wubys at the Queen’s Walk

4. HMS BELFAST

8 mins walk from London bridge, on the River Thames you will find the HMS Belfast. This magnificent ship, is a museum, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser. It was permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum.

Entrance into the war museum is 14.50 pounds for adults, and 7.25 for kids. They are open from 10 am until 5 pm.

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My husband and I are simple people, and simple things make us laugh, hard 😀 pun intended.

5. THE SHARD

From the Queen’s Walk, we turned right and walked towards the direction of the Shard. It is also referred to as the Shard of Glass, is London’s highest viewing platform. It has 95 storeys and was constructed in March 2009 but was finished in November 2012.

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Wubys and The Shard

6. TOWER BRIDGE

The Tower Bridge was built 120 years ago to ease road traffic while maintaining river access to the busy Pool of London docks. Built with giant moveable roadways that lift up for passing ships, it is to this day considered an engineering marvel and beyond being one of London’s favorite icons, it is arguably one of the most famous and instantly recognizable structures in the entire world.

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The Tower Bridge

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Wubys on Tower Bridge

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Shot by Michal

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The gang on Tower Bridge

You can actually go up to see the exhibition for 8 pounds. Since 1982, the Tower Bridge Exhibition has told the history of the bridge and why it came into existence through fascinating exhibition content. Visitors can also experience the exciting new glass floor and spectacular panoramic views from the high-level Walkways as well as the Victorian Engine Rooms, which house the beautiful steam engines that once powered the bridge lifts.

7. TOWER OF LONDON

You won’t miss the Tower of London. Walking from the south side of Tower Bridge, you will see it on your left. Here is where they hold the precious Crown Jewels. It is a part of the Royal Collection, which are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and they hold deep religious and cultural significance in the British nation’s history.

It costs 24.50 pounds to go in the Tower of London, 1.40 pounds cheaper if you book it online. They are open 7 days a week, 9am to 4:30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 10am to 4:30 Sundays and Mondays.

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T he view of the Tower of London from the Tower Bridge.

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Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

8. BIG BEN

We took the District line from the Tower Hill tube station until Westminster, 7 stops in 11 minutes. We ascended out of the station to find the majestic 95 meters high clock.

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.

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Big Ben

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Wubys with Big Ben ❤

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Shot by Bartek

Big Ben was opened in 1859 and was eventually renamed to the Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.  It is a part of the Palace of Westminster originally started in 1020. The palace was burnt down in 1834, so the Gothic architecture you see today is comparatively recent.

9. THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

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Foto from our August 2015 trip

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The Palace of Westminster or otherwise know as the Houses of Parliament, symbolizes Great Britain. The decisions made in its corridors of power have shaped Britain, past and present.

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The Victoria Tower of the Palace of Westminster

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IMG_3482Parliament Square where protesters gather

10. WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.

A treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artefacts, Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation’s history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.

To tour the abbey, entrance fee is 20 pounds and they are open from 9:30 am until 6 pm.

Westminster Abbey north side

11. LONDON EYE

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The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. In January 2015, it has been known in branding as the Coca-Cola London Eye, following an agreement signed in September 2014.

The entire structure is 135 metres (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft). When erected in 1999 it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. The Eye is described by its operators as “the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel”.

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This is the crowd on the bridge towards the London Eye, so-

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We decided to take our group foto from this vantage point instead.
Cowards? I think not. 😉

12. GREEN PARK

Comprising just over 40 acres of mature trees and grassland next to Buckingham Palace, the Green park is the peaceful triangle between Piccadilly and Constitution Hill.

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Wubys at Green Park

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Green Park is one of the Royal Parks of London

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Wubys in Green Park, Fall 2015

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Wingardium Leviosa
Oh, yea, I learned how to levitate leaves the Gryffindor way.

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Wubys at the Green Park underground station
Awesome shot by Michal

13. BUCKINGHAM PALACE

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The gang at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and principal workplace of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality.

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Wubys outside the Buckingham Palace

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Behind us, the enormous statue of Queen Victoria , over 18 ft high, and made in Carrara marble is seated against a great pediment, facing away from Buckingham Palace.

14. VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM

The Victoria and Albert Museum, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

The museum is open everyday from 10 am until 5:45 pm.

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Wubys at the Victoria & Albert museum

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Here we are posing with David.
The sculpture is Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece  created between 1501 and 1504. It is a 5.17-metre marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favored subject in the art of Florence. 

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The John Madejski Garden at night. 
John Madejski gave the V&A £2 million to create a new garden at the heart of the Museum. The John Madejski Garden opened on 5 July 2005.

*MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

This is right next to the V&A but we didn’t go in. Marco and I have have been inside last summer 2015.

The Natural History Museum in London is the world’s most prestigious and pre-eminent museum of natural history, exhibiting a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. They are open 7 days a week from 10 am until 6 pm, admission is free.

Natural-History-Museum-London-11

15. BROMPTON ORATORY

The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, better known as Brompton Oratory, is home to the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in London, a community of priests living under the rule of life established by its founder in the sixteenth century. The Oratory also serves as a parish church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster.

Brompton_Oratory-1

brompton

*HARRODS

A few minutes walk from the Brompton Oratory is Harrods. Marco and I were there a week before to see the Christmas window displays, which were very entertaining. https://kymalupa.com/2015/11/17/12-hours-of-frolicking-in-the-rain/

This is where our 4 hours mark stops. 15 sights! It was a very tiring day but it was not yet over.

Michail and Bartek stayed at the V&A while Marco and I headed to the Brompton Oratory to listen to the Sunday 3:30 pm Latin Vespers. Which was followed by mass at 4:30.

After mass, Marco and I went back to the V&A for a quick coffee fix. I’ve been to this museum countless times and that was my 1st time to go to the cafe. It was gorgeous!

va_cafe

After coffee, we headed to the Museum of Natural History to meet with our good friend, May, for an hour of skating on the museum’s Swarovski ice rink. The link to which I will post here once I’ve written it 😉

Cheers!

Sources:
cdn.londonandpartners.com
wikipedia.com
visitthames.co.uk
towerbridge.org.uk
hrp.org.uk
londontoolkit.com
history.co.uk
upload.wikimedia.org
http://www.bromptonoratory.co.uk

londonbeep.com
speel.me.uk

royalparks.org.uk
rathbonehotel.co.uk
westminster-abbey.org
farm6.static.flickr.com
vam.ac.uk

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Windsor trip fail

When we were in London last August, we took the train from the Waterloo station to Windsor and Eton Central. After we explored the Windsor Castle (which is my absolute favorite castle of all time!), we stumbled upon the Ye Olde King’s Head restaurant. The only restaurant that we have seen that offers gluten free fish and chips!

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Wubys at Windsor, August 2015

So last Sunday, with my belly growling for fish and chips, we hurried ourselves to the Waterloo station.

Fail no. 1. The train to Windsor and Eton Central were not running. They had some track problems and the alternate route from Waterloo was too complicated, with train and bus transfers.

We did find out that there was another way to get to my gluten free fish and chips, via the Paddington station. We got there and went to the ticketing booth. Awesomest thing ever, if you buy your tickets at the station for a group of people, you get a discount. If we had taken the train from Waterloo, it would have cost us about 12-15 pounds per person. We paid 21 pounds in Paddington for 3 persons. Who doesn’t love a discount, right?

We boarded the train and in 32 minutes we had to get off at Slough for the train change. From there it was a quick 6 minute train ride to Windsor.

Walking in a fast pace, we headed to the restaurant.

Fail no. 2. We got there and it was close. Should have called first!!!

I asked around and found out that they were close til March. The owner went on a fishing trip. Noooooo…..

We ended up a the Turner’s Restaurant which was right next door. I came for fish and chips, I was eating fish and chips, gluten free or not.

I’m not a fan of cheat days or cheat meals. This is when you allow yourself to eat the stuff that you eliminate from your diet. But it was already 2 pm, I had my heart set on fish and chips, and so I caved in.

Fail no. 3. Bad idea. About 20 minutes after my lunch, I felt nauseous. I wasn’t getting itchy, and I could still breath, but I felt horrible. I just wanted to shut down, curl into a ball and sleep.

While our friend, Manjula, went it to Windsor Castle to explore, Marco and I walked around town, going in and out of the shops. But I felt soo bad I couldn’t even get myself to really look around.

I’d have to say that Sunday was a let down. It was cold, as always, I felt horrible and I didn’t buy anything. Worst 3 combinations ever.

The only good thing about our day was that we got to hang out with Manjula, and we were able to catch up. ❤

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