Sidequest: Show Me the Money

I like to do self-imposed quests and collect certain items when I travel. One of the personal challenges or sidequests I’ve been trying to complete is to visit all the destinations featured on the back of our Philippine currency. The current set of banknotes issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines features Philippine landmarks and tourist destinations, which are considered the most valuable treasures of our nation. As of November 2017, I’ve collected photos of the landmarks in five out of the six possible locations.

GOAL: Take photos of Philippine banknotes at the landmarks featured on the bill STATUS: 5/6 collected

NEXT MISSION: Dive with a 1000 bill at Tubbataha Reef  Continue reading

Travel Guide: Queenstown, New Zealand

Dubbed the “Adventure capital of the world,” Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island blew us away with its breathtaking landscapes and extreme adventures. Everyone who heard I was going to New Zealand said I had to go to Queenstown. And while it was roughly more than 1,500 km away from our original entry point in Auckland in the North Island, the long journey going to the South Island was so worth it.

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The Character of Custom Bikes

Motorcycles have distinct personalities. Stock underbones and scooters are your dependable workhorses, the best when it comes to the daily grind. Except for a few high-end brands, most are pretty average-looking. Everyone has them. They blend in with the crowd and they get the job done, especially when it comes to snaking through the city’s gridlock. Custom bikes have a bit more character.

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Fenrir: A Final Fantasy Custom Bike

I bought my scooter five and half years ago, about the same time I started this blog. The red and white Yamaha Mio Fino you see on the blog header is Chocobo, named after the gigantic bird-like creatures in the Final Fantasy video game universe which protagonists use to explore the world. Chocobos provide a faster way of getting from Point A to Point B than going on foot. They give you access to hard to reach areas, and open up new areas to explore.

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Universal Studios Japan Theme Park

For movie and pop culture buffs, Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the top attractions where you can enjoy rides inspired by Hollywood blockbusters, TV shows, cartoons and video games produced by Universal Studios. This world-class theme park transports you right inside your all-time-favorite flicks like Jurassic Park, Waterworld and JAWS.

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Jurassic Park’s The Flying Dinosaur. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Japan
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Spelunking in Samar: Lobo Cave

Just like exploring a new dungeon in a video game, there’s something so fulfilling about spelunking or exploring caves in real life.

You have to navigate through small tunnels and chambers, find the best route so that you don’t hurt yourself, come face to face with creatures like bats and snakes and overcome all the obstacles in the dark to find the cave exit. It’s not as glamorous as Lara Croft makes it look, but it’s one of the most fun and exhilarating adventures you can do. Particularly if you’re in Samar, the Caving Capital of the Philippines.

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JAPAN: Old Town & Autumn Takayama Festival

If the UNESCO World Heritage site Shirakawa-go is the starting village or hero’s hometown in a classic video role-playing game, Takayama is the peaceful yet bustling trading town you go to when you want to upgrade your gear and buy all the rare items.

autumn in takayama japan ootd lakhambini shoes doorway

Takayama is a city in the mountainous region of the Gifu Prefecture, about 2 hours away from Nagoya, Japan. It is home to a beautifully preserved Old Town with buildings and whole streets of houses that date back to the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city still thrived as a wealthy town of merchants.
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Tomb Riding in Cambodia (Part 2)

On our first day of biking around Siem Reap, we rented a couple of mountain bikes to explore Angkor’s ancient temples. On our second and third day, we decided to take it slow and just rent city bikes instead. As hardcore as the mountain bikes look, we found out that most of the terrain was pretty flat. We also found ourselves spending more time on foot, channeling our favorite archaeologist-adventurers as we ventured into ancient temples and ruins. Who knows what hidden treasure we might stumble upon?

biking day 2 cambodia angkor archaeological park preah khan window

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JAPAN: World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go

Many role-playing video games start out in a remote place hidden deep in the mountains. The hero’s home town is often depicted as a rustic village full of wooden houses with thatched roofs. Outside each house, you pass rice fields surrounded by rivers, perfectly landscaped gardens and trees with fruits ripe for the picking. Okami, which is one of my favorite video games of all time, has all these elements of the classical Japanese countryside.

Walking through the streets of Shirakawa-go felt like I was transported into a fantasy world right out of a video game.

01. shirakawago village japan gassho style house

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The Escape Hunt Experience Manila

The game is afoot!

Want to practice your detective skills and see if you have what it takes to be a super sleuth like Sherlock Homes? Check out Escape Hunt in Makati, the “ultimate live escape game” where players get one hour to play the part of famous London detectives and figure out classic murder mysteries.

the escape hunt experience manila screenshot from website

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