Friday, July 18, 2014

A Tourist in my Own Country - Last Stop

This is part deux of a 2-part blog entry about being a tourist in my own country - the Philippines. If you haven't read the previous post, please click here.

Second stop: Enchanted Kingdom (EK). The Philippines' first and only world-class theme park located in Laguna which is beyond Manila. They say, EK is our version of Disneyland-Universal Studios combined. What can I say, I've never been to any Disneyland or Universal Studios so *shrugs*

Victoria Park
We arrived late afternoon/almost sunset and were greeted by Eldar the wizard (EK's mascot) and few entertainers dressed in Victorian-era costumes in front of the magically looking Grand Carousel, a pretty attraction on this zone. Charming!

Midway Boardwalk
We walked around and stopped at this Coney Island inspired (1930s America's Playground) zone. My brothers played some skilled games - basketball and pool & billiards, and since they're good - actually best and great at it, they won various giant stuffed animals. Proud!

Brooklyn Place
We proceeded to the 1940's Brooklyn, New York theater and shopping zone inspired where we got inside the the Rialto (simulator ride) for the 3D ride of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I said ride because our seats moved in 8 directions around 4 different axes to feel that we are part of the action that is happening on the screen. In which my nephew got scared and almost fall from his seat. Fun! 

The sci-fi/NASA-ish zone. My brothers, sister-in-law and I got in a long queue for the Space Shuttle ride - a unique roller coaster ride that function like a boomerang. We chose the front seats and our train was pulled backwards up to the highest point and was released to dive down, revolving around, inverting included, the loops like a bullet. It was one hell of a ride as we turned upside-down 6 times, 3x forward and 3x backwards in 2 minutes. I couldn't even scream! We were also shot through the rails backwards so after the ride I walked like a f--cking hammered Charlie Sheen. LOL. Super intense!

My brother-in-law was excited to join the fun by karting but we were shooed away from the Kart Track (kart racing) because we weren't (though he was) wearing casual and comfortable shoes for our own safety [Noted]. Somehow disappointing, our mistake, we didn't do our research.

We had to split up to make the most out of our trip there. They have tried the Dodgem (bumper cars) located at Midway Boardwalk, Stone Egg (egg-shaped kiddie Ferris wheel) and Boulderville Express (mini-train ride) both part of the dinosaur-themed Boulderville zone and I think also they tried the calm Swan Lake water ride at the Amazon jungle inspired Jungle Outpost Zone.
We headed back to the Midway Boardwalk zone and tried the mini roller coaster ride called Roller Skater. It is actually a Spaceshuttle aftershock because it gave us another 10-second heart racing experience. 

We also rode the EKstreme Tower (a drop tower) in Midway Boardwalk. While seating comfortably, we were lifted slowly to the top (about 12 floors/storeys) and suspsended there for a minute or so to enjoy the overlooking view of the town and Laguna de Bay at night. Then we were released free-fall down the tower, like a hot potato. We were screaming our lungs out. My heart stopped for a bit and when we reached the ground, I felt like my butt was left up there somewhere. LOL. What a scream machine!

Our final ride was the Grand Carousel and we headed back home. The fireworks display was very timely, it made our exit spectacular, dramatic and enchanting. Haha!
My bros, sister-in-law and I

A Tourist in my Own Country - First Stop

Stunning sunset on Manila Bay
Last April, I had a chance to go "home" again for 2 weeks, the last time I've been there was 3 years and 4 months ago. I have been living abroad for 8 years now and still think of the Philippines as my own  country. Simply because 16 of my formative to adolescense years were spent living in one of Manila suburbs. But being in Dubai for long, sometimes, I feel like I don't know my country - the Philippines, anymore.

Anyway. while still in Dubai, my sister and I asked our 6-year old nephew, who lives in the Philippines, about the place(s) there that he has never been to but would like to go. His answer: Manila Ocean Park and Enchanted Kingdom. Good choice as I've never been to both places either.

So off we go!

First Stop: Manila Ocean Park, the Philippine's first world-class marine theme park. Just to give you an idea, it is similar to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo just less grandiose. We've seen 5 different attractions/shows that include:

Oceanarium. It has long acrylic walkway tunnel wherein you can have a close-encounter experience with a wide varieties of fascinating sea creatures.  They seem like flying around and over you while you are under this big aquarium.

Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter. I got a chance to touch big sting rays and dared not touch the sharks.

Jellies Exhibit. The exhibit gave me a surreal experience by being surrounded by hundreds or thousands dancing sea fairies generating neon lights in all possible colors. 

Sea Lion Show. It features 2 adorable South American sea lions (an adult and a baby). My siblings, siblings-in-law and I enjoyed the show as much as my nephews. LOL.

Musical Fountain Show. The Philippines' first, largest, tallest and longest-running musical fountain show, at par, with the world's best Dubai Fountain. It is backed by live performance with the magnificent Manila Bay as backdrop.

The Nephew and I

For the last stop, please click here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Iconic Burj Al Arab

(not my photo)
If we say Dubai, what comes to your mind? It's either world's something-something building or the ship sail-like hotel, right?

And that's my friend is the iconic Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arab), one of Dubai's world famous landmarks. The symbol of modern Dubai.

And do you see that girl thumbing a ride to get in there? That's me, Rae. LOL.

Do you see where this post is going? You didn't, did you?

Well, guess what, early this year (sometime in Feb), I've been inside that stunning hotel. Oh I just had my morning coffee there, LOL, or should I say luxurious brekky in Sahn Eddar - one of the restos inside.

I considered it as an achievement because Burj Al Arab is the world's most luxurious hotel and once dubbed "the only 7-star hotel in the world" (1999-2008)..

The Food, Luxurious Food

The Interior of the World's Luxurious Hotel - Burj Al Arab

See that petite woman over there? On the first floor entrance of Burj Al Arab and next to hotel's Rolls Royce limo? 
Again, that's me Rae. LOL

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bitten from the Block

I didn't realized I've been hibernating for that long.. 8 months! Would you believe that? Or maybe you didn't realize that I was MIA-ing also... It's okay. LOL

I really had too much in my plate. Who cares?! LOL. Maybe you had more than I had..

Anyway, whether you care or not, I am back to blabbing.

And I will blab anything I want and will compensate for the time I wasn't here so brace yourself..

After all I'm still Bitten, Bitten from the block!