8 things you should know about the Philippines

After living in a developed “first world” country (USA) and a developing “third world” country (Philippines),  I have realized a few things.  I have noticed that no matter where you go there will be things you love and things you hate.  No place on Earth is perfect.  But there are many things that are undeniably better in the the high-tech developed world than in the poor developing world.  There is much less crime in the developed world.  Honestly, most of the crimes in the Philippines are not even reported.  The mortality rate is much higher in the developing world.  More people die of basic ailments and accidents.  In the US, a person with a debilitating disease or disability can not only live a long life but even be extremely successful.  Poverty is in EVERY country but there is a difference between relative poverty (relative to others in your country) and absolute poverty (severe deprivation of food, sanitation, health, education and shelter).  The first world is 100x better.

The bottom line is you won’t realize how great your life is until you decide to live in a poor country.  Visiting for a vacation is a totally different thing than living there permanently.  Whenever tourists go to the Philippines they think it is amazing.  It is beautiful. It is an unforgettable experience.  It is so awesome that may decide to settle in our country.  If you live there, you see the good, the bad and the ugly.  You will notice the living conditions of the average citizen through the news, radio shows, your neighbors and your extended family.

I lived in the Philippines for 25 years before moving to the US and I can tell you what you need to know before you move the Philippines.

1 .  Food poisoning.  It actually happens a lot in the Philippines but it is just not considered a big deal.  Even when you eat in a decent restaurant you will experience it often.  After a while your body starts to adapt but you will still experience it at least once a year.  Foreigners new to the country experiences it way more often.

2.  Crowds everywhere. Philippines is very crowded.  Even in the provincial/rural areas it is still crowded.  The draw back of over crowding is more than just long lines.  More people means more crimes.  Make sure you watch your wallet in the cities.

3.  People always mind your business. This is one of the thing that I hate the most.  Even as a kid I noticed that all the neighbors would watch everything we did and would end up finding out personal things about us.  As an adult its no different.  When I was living with my sister the neighbors would analyze everything we did.  Asking questions that are none of their business and assuming things that may or may not be true. Even if we were outside working on the garden, people pass by staring.. and staring.  It is extremely uncomfortable.  This happens all the time.  They are very nosy. Whenever a filipina has any foreigner with her, people want to check them out.

4.  Discomfort. In the Philippines, having stable electricity and Internet connectivity are comforts that many do not have.  Something so basic in the first world don’t work nearly as well in the Philippines.  Whenever a typhoon comes, it may cut the electricity for 5 hours or a whole night.  It is unavoidable.  Internet connectivity practically disappear every time there is a heavy rain.  During a typhoon, Internet and cellphone signals are also affected.

5.  Calamities. Typhoons happen every year in the Philippines.  A typhoon can hit any part of the Philippines.  Those most affected by it are people who live on smaller islands and those in big the cities where there is no good drainage system.  There are also earthquake, floods and 18 active volcanoes.

6.  Crime. I have direct experience crimes happening in my own country.  Every country has crime, but you are more likely to experience it in densely populated areas where there is a high level of poverty.

7.  Utilities.  The cost of utilities (electric and gas) are higher in the Philippines than what we pay here in US.  When I was living with my sister, we had a small refrigerator, a manual washing machine, a small oven that we occasionally use for baking and a 1 small air conditioner for a room.   The cost was $150 month.  Our stove was powered by a gas tank.  In the US, our single-family, 3 bedroom house with basement has a central air conditioning unit, with 2 tvs, 5 laptops, a full sized electric stove that I use every night for cooking many lights on in the home due to 4+ people living in it, a washer and dryer. We are paying $150 during the winter and $190 in the summer.

8.  Poverty. In the Philippines you will see homeless children sleeping in the streets.  The street kids live off the scraps of random strangers.  But the homeless are not the only ones affected by the slow economy.  The average Filipino wage is barely enough to live on with the relatively high cost of living.

All of these things you should be considered before living in the Philippines.  If you don’t mind any of the items mentioned then you will have a great life in paradise.  Overall if you decide to live in another country, study the statistics of how many people leave their own country before you make your final move.

Family Vacation in Miami – 2016

We had a great time in South Beach, Miami, Florida!  We brought our kids and stayed at a hotel called the President (formerly Penguin).  It is located on Collins and 14th in Miami.  It was a great location for us.  There are some homeless, vagrant type wandering around but everything was fine for us.  Overall, we felt safe and could focus on having a good time.

We drove from DisneyWorld (Orlando Florida) to Miami which was about a 4 hour drive.

We were walking distance from the beach, clubs and restaurants.  The area was suggested to us by a Miami local and it was a good choice.  Walgreens was right across the street.

Parking is pretty expensive especially on the weekends, but we found a place to park for the full 3 days for about $135 dollars.  It is normally about $15 dollar/hour.  There is a great variety of food on Washington street, which is also walking distance.

Overall we had a great, great time and could definitely see ourselves going back.

www.presidentsouthbeach.com

Miami Official Page

 

DimeTravel Trip to Bangkok – 2012

Going to Bangkok is an unforgettable experience.  Just visiting each of the temples around Bangkok felt like meditation itself.  Most of my experiences there were amazing.  So far, the Thai people were the most the most peaceful and kind that I have interacted with.  We were to Bangkok in 2012, and it was truly an unforgettable time.  The food was some of the best and most exotic we had ever had, we saw the temple of the Thai King and Queen, we saw the amazing ancient parts of SIAM.

 

 

 

DimeTravel Vacation to Los Angeles

In 2015 Summer, we visited Los Angeles on our way to a Carnival Cruise to Mexico. We stayed in Los Angeles for two days to check it out.

Here are some of the places we went to in L.A.
– Hollywood Walk of Fame
– Griffith Observatory (see Hollywood sign)
– Korea Town
– Sunset strip
– Santee Alley
– Natural History Museum

Pros:
– Lots of things to do and see
– Great weather
– Beautiful people

Cons:
– BAD traffic
– Crazy people
– BAD traffic
– crowded

5 Reasons to Go to Thailand

We LOOOOVE Thailand.  It is one of our favorite countries with some of our favorite cultures. We meet incredible people every time we visit and fall in love with it all each time.   There are 5 top reasons that you need to go to Thailand.

The people.  The people are super nice.  We did meet a few NOT so nice people.  But most of the people we met were awesome.

The Food.  The food is great.  One of the best places we ate at was street restaurant that served and very tasty menu.  If you go, you have to be adventurous with the foods.

The Party.  If you like to party, you will probably not want to leave Thailand.  There is a reason why one of the Hangover movies was made there.

The Temples.  We are not Buddhist, but we could feel the peaceful spirit of Buddism when we visited the temples.  The essence of Thailand is there in those temples.

The Women.  The women are so beautiful and diverse.  They are tall, short, voluptuous, sensuous, reserved, petite, nice, feisty.  They are probably the main reason there are so many foreigners visiting.

 

Top 3 Things NOT to talk About in the Philippines

If you decide to visit the Philippines, there are certain subjects you should avoid.  The Filipinos are very laid back and cool but one thing you don’t want to mess with is the Catholic religion.  The things you don’t want to talk about all involve how the Catholic religion approaches these topics:

  1. gay rights
  2. religion
  3. prostitution

Hollywood Historic Haunted (short version)

First of all we want to say 95% of the people that go to Hollywood Historic Hotel seem to LOVE it. The price is right, the location is close to great tourist attractions. We are the other 5% who think it is haunted as HELL. So take this article as an opinion from two random people who were there two nights.

We traveled to Hollywood, California to see the amazing city of L.A. The only thing worse than the traffic was the ghosts in Hollywood Historic.

Check out our story of what happened on http://dimetravel.org/hollywood-historic-hotel-haunted

A 3 day Carnival Inspiration Cruisin

I remember the first time I saw a cruise on TV.  I thought, “Wow!” with all the activities on the ship it must be a fun experience.

In 2014, I got married and found out going on a cruise was on my husband’s bucket list. March 2015, we both decided to go on a cruise.  We booked for tickets for our daughter and my mother-in-law.  It was not cheap.

https://youtu.be/_56gDUKNwGY

Time in L.A. And Check in

May 29,2015, we flew to L.A. and hung out there for a day or two.  We checked out the city and drove to Long Beach just before departure.  We arrived 4 hours early but there were already hundreds of people there in line for the cruise.  Carnival is so organized that they process people pretty fast.

I really thought we were not allowed to bring water but I seen an Indian couple bringing their own water and sodas.  When it was our turn, we filled out the health department paper with a few questions about Ebola.  My husband and I, submitted our IDs.  Although I am not a US Citizen, I was able to use my passport and I-512 EAD to go on the cruise.  We were given our card keys that also serves as our id while on the boat.  It also has a $100.00 credit per stateroom that we could spend while cruising.  When it was my mother-in-law’s turn, she was told that she needs a birth certificate since she did not have a passport.  She had only brought a State ID which we all thought was good enough because on our tickets that is what we thought it said.  It also says in a Customs and Border Protection website that a US citizen can present a government issued id.  She was not able to go with us on the boat and we were given a paper that state her denial of boarding.

On the Carnival Inspiration

After boarding, they had an orientation on Paris Lounge. There were hundreds of people sitting. There were older people but what stood out the most are the college students and 30 + adults who were acting like little kids. The crew told them to keep quiet and the college students would try to make a scene and keep talking.  It made the orientation even longer. After that, we went on to find our stateroom.  It was chaos. There are tons of people everywhere and many are already tipsy and drinking.  We finally found our room and rested for an hour.

We went to the “Mardi gras” restaurant. The food is included in what you pay for your cruise. They have two restaurant. One is an a la carte and one next to the pool area which is a buffet. The food was delicious. The buffet has so much variety. The food was what I enjoyed the most.  I was on vacation and did not have to cook 🙂

The second day, we landed in Mexico.  There were many tours offered each with their own fee, but you can get off the boat and walk around free if you want (just make sure you have your identification so you can get back on the ship).  For those who want it, you can take pictures as you disembark (which they sell back to you at a ridiculous price once you are done with the cruise).

We had chosen an express “Fun Bus” that took us on a tour around Ensenada, Mexico for an hour and dropped us off in a shopping/bar area.  Ensenada is rich with a proud Mexican heritage, a high level of academia and decades of foreigners from all over the world coming to visit and/ or live.  We notice that a lot of citizens of Ensenada had California accents since they had strong connections with the Westcoast of the United States.  On the way back, we saw Steve Job’s yacht parked at the docks.  It was really just a glimpse from the side of the highway because we did not stop.

We return to the boat in just 2 hours. Over all it was “okay” but not great.  The souvenir shops were overpriced.  It was more expensive than Hollywood Blvd souvenir prices!  We got some shot glasses and a dress for mom.  We got back to the ship to eat and rested.

Carnival Cruise put out an itinerary everyday that detailed all the events throughout the ship.  There were dance events, night clubs, kid’s clubs, auctions, pool parties and MANY other events.  One of the most popular events was Cruise Elegant nights were everybody dressed up formal for pictures.

The third day we were at sea there was a huge pool party.  There was a DJ, people dancing, a contest for the hottest guy and girl.  It was very entertaining.  The buffets were so packed that day.

On the 4th day, we arrived in L.A. We woke up at 6:30 am, had breakfast and disembarked at 9am.  Overall, it was a fun food adventure with a spring break party feel but I was wanting a more peaceful experience.

Prices summary:

Ticket for 4 people + vacation protection insurance   : $ 1745.32

Shore excursions tours 2 adults + 1 child                    : $      54.97

Souvenier shop glass                                                     : $     10.00

low quality house dress                                                  : $     25.00

3 pcs 4 R photos                                                              : $     48.00

housekeeping & restaurant service fees $ 36.00/day : $   108.00

 

Tips:

1. Check in early. Like 4 hours before departure. You would think you are early but theres already hundreds lining up for check in.

2. Bring valid passport or birth certificate. Always have a passport or birth certificate even on travelling a closed loop.

3. Review the coverage of your insurance. If you have to cancel your trip for emergency reasons, call immediately days before your trip. Vacation Travel Protection do not give a refund if you are denied boarding.

4. Expect a crowd. People are not as well mannered as you think.

5. Prepare to spend more money. Everything has a corresponding amount except for the buffet food.

Hollywood Historic Hotel.. haunted?

First of all we want to say 95% of the people that go to Hollywood Historic Hotel seem to LOVE it.  The price is right, the location is close to great tourist attractions.  We are the other 5% who think it is haunted as HELL.  So take this article as an opinion from two random people who were there two nights.

We traveled to Hollywood, California to see the amazing city of L.A.  The only thing worse than the traffic was the ghosts in Hollywood Historic.

As soon as we stepped inside it had a strange feeling to it.  I mean, the renovations they have done are very nice.  They did a great job.  But there is something that else going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QuWkraJNkU

It is hard to explain, but imagine how it would feel if you went to a hotel that was occupied by humans from the afterlife.  Have you ever went to a place and you felt like you are being watched everywhere you go?  That is how it felt in Hollywood Historic.

It feels occupied by other worldly creatures.  Perhaps the dead who have made it their home.  When we walked through the third floor hallway, it felt crowded.. but there was no one there.

Perhaps we were both hallucinating the feeling.  But my mom also heard something there.  In the hallway.  Someone running.  Only when she looked there was no one around.

You think we are crazy?  Well go see for yourself http://www.hollywoodhistorichotel.com/

Here is what others had to say:

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